From hobby to career : Emily Griffith Technical College

From hobby to career

From hobby to career

Emily Griffith Class of 2021 grad turned an avocation into a vocation during the pandemic

After getting laid off from his latest job running machinery for an original equipment manufacturer, Kevin McCall decided to make a pandemic pivot and prepare for a career that actually interested him.

At 35, he didn’t want to start the long slog toward a bachelor’s degree, so the long-time computer hobbyist enrolled in Emily Griffith’s 10-month Web Development program.

“My wife was employed, and she said, ‘Why don’t you do something you actually want to do?”

Raised in Denver by a single mom, Kevin, the oldest of six children, left West High School in the 9th grade. A quiet kid, “I was basically bullied out,” he said. He worked in restaurants and warehouses and eventually went on to get his GED, but never found a clear career path.

Armed with some COVID stimulus money, Kevin purchased a laptop with enough firepower to take Web Development classes at Emily Griffith, and he enrolled. Initially, the program challenged both the students and instructor while everyone adjusted to the online teaching environment. Because of Kevin’s self-taught technology background, he transitioned readily to online learning, even serving as a de facto tech advisor.

“Kevin McCall has been the class’s rockstar and advocate,” said instructor April Long. “He is knowledgeable about the content and shares his knowledge with his classmates. He was a pleasure to have in the program, and best of all he demonstrated characteristics of a web developer.”

Through Emily’s Web Development program he’s learned the fundamentals for contemporary front-end and back-end programming practice and feels prepared to start a career in tech. Kevin is currently in the throes of completing his capstone project for the program, a portfolio of work he’s created using React, a popular JavaScript library for building user interfaces.

When Kevin walked across the stage to accept his certificate at Emily Griffith’s July 1 Graduation ceremonies, he marked a personal milestone. “This will be my first time walking across a stage to graduate.”