Although her educational background is in the arts, April Dean Hunter always had a passion for science fiction and artificial intelligence, especially for what the latter makes possible. During her years as an administrative assistant, her interest in computers grew and she began teaching herself web development. As her knowledge of IT increased, April considered a shift to a technology career because the industry is characterized by flexibility.

In Fall 2018, April visited Goodwill’s Smyrna Career Center with her nephew, Jordan, who had recently graduated high school and needed a job. April was aware of Goodwill’s reputation for excellence in training, so while Jordan was perusing programs of interest to him, April was also looking at the upcoming class schedule.

When April spotted the Tech Bridge program, she thought she might have found the perfect match for Jordan, but he wasn’t interested. Suddenly it occurred to her that perhaps this was the program meant for her. Noticing that she was outside the age range listed on the Tech Bridge flyer, April inquired with members of the Smyrna team, who shared that the age range had been expanded. April was delighted and decided to enroll.

Classes began in mid-October, with topics ranging from what it’s like to be in the tech industry to HTML, CSS and JavaScript. April particularly enjoyed learning about Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform (CRM). As it would turn out, the Salesforce certification earned as part of the Tech Bridge program would be her ticket to a new career.

April found the quality of instruction lived up to her expectations and noted that Courtney Campbell, Maria McGruder, and Donielle Boop all demonstrated mastery of their topics and a genuine interest in the participants. When the program neared its conclusion, the connections to job opportunities provided by Tech Bridge also proved immensely valuable.

In mid-March 2019, April landed a contract job with Graphic Packaging International (GPI), as a junior business systems analyst on a Salesforce team. She was thrilled to be working in such a great environment with a supportive group of people where she could learn each day and is be given new opportunities to implement her knowledge.

April is grateful to Goodwill for allowing her to move into an industry that would have been challenging to enter on her own. The Tech Bridge program was the door to an exciting new career for April, and she intends to pay it forward by helping others who want to be a part of the IT field. Her nephew also joined the Goodwill family as a team member at the Marietta store and is now working for an affiliate in Texas.

In February 2020, April was hired by GPI as a cybersecurity analyst, and in March 2021, celebrated two years with the company.