When the odds seemed stacked against her, Lyric McGhee found solace in the living room of her sister’s apartment – specifically, the couch. “I had to sleep on the couch because there wasn’t much room in our two-bedroom apartment. [The couch] was my bed, my study area, my table, my room and my inspiration to finish school,” she says. A resident of southwest Atlanta, McGhee is all too familiar with families struggling to get ahead. Her neighborhood consistently ranks high in general unemployment, children whose parents lack secure employment, high school drop-out rates, families living in poverty, and more. It is these very factors that have inspired McGhee to strive for better for herself and her family. Her goals were complicated when finances got tight. Her sister had to move into a smaller apartment, and McGhee had to find elsewhere to live. She moved from home to home, all while enrolled in school and working a part-time job at Walmart to help pay the bills.

Good news finally came in the way of the Technology Career Program, a collaborative training program made possible by Goodwill of North Georgia, TechBridge, Atlanta Police Foundation and WrightNow Solutions. The program was free to participants, and McGhee could work with a case manager to navigate challenges with scheduling around her part-time job, as well as working through transportation logistics. For the first time, McGhee had an accessible opportunity to obtain industry-recognized credentials in a high-demand, high-growth sector: technology.

Enrolling in the program was only the first step, and it was a major one. McGhee was one of 29 participants selected from an applicant pool of more than 90 young adults in her area. Once in the program, the coursework was demanding as well. She learned a combination of applicable technology concepts designed to help her take and pass the Salesforce certification exam, and on top of that, she learned new soft skills, like how to nail a job interview, how to create and maintain a professional LinkedIn profile, and even tips on how to better manage household finances. She soaked in all this new information in only 16 weeks, the duration of the Technology Career Program.

Not only did McGhee excel within the program, she had accepted a full-time job as a Junior Salesforce Administrator at NCR Corporation by graduation day. Additionally, she is approaching her final semester at Georgia State University and is continuing to add to her credentials. Proud of what she’s accomplished and driven to see how far her goals can take her, McGhee is exceeding expectations on all fronts. As a minority female in a traditionally male-dominant field, she feels unstoppable. She credits the Technology Career Program for helping her realize her potential and looks forward to what her future holds.