MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Wounded warriors, their caretakers and dependents are eligible for free information technology classes as well as testing and certification through the Wounded Warrior Project’s Transition Training Academy at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s John A. Lejeune Education Center.
While the program is meant to help wounded warriors, WWP also opened the classes to retirees, their dependents and service members within a year of their end of active duty.
“WWP is giving back,” said Richard Santiago, instructor and independent contractor with the project. “They’re empowering service members.”
A uniform can act as a suit of armor for a service member, said Santiago. It can help a person feel powerful, and some may lose the feeling of strength once they have to stop wearing it.
“What we do is make sure you don’t lose your sense of self,” said Santiago. “Even if you’re not wearing your uniform anymore you are still a powerful person.”
For service members who are prematurely taking off their uniforms due to injuries, the IT field can offer work where their limitations won’t hold them back.
Santiago used colorful metaphors and analogies to keep participants interested.
“He breaks everything down and makes it easy to understand,” said Cpl. Rodrigo Bustamante, a student of the class.
As long as the student is open to the knowledge presented, they are good candidates for the class.
“Computers aren’t for the faint of heart, but we don’t give up on our students,” said Santiago.
WWP offers more than just a class, Santiago said. It gives service members prospects in a growing field.
“Our goal is to develop new career skills with real-world potential through focused instruction,” said Santiago.
The training offered is what Santiago refers to as the “foundation of IT.” There are four introductory classes for computer technology, computer repair, networking and security.
These classes offer The Computing Technology Business Association’s A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications at no cost to the student. CompTIA is a leading non-profit provider of vendor-neutral IT certifications.
A+ certification covers entry-level skills such as installation and preventative maintenance. Students working towards A+ certification receive a free computer. Network+ involves installing and configuring networks as well as other facets of computer networking. Security+ tests competency in network security, cryptography, the handling of threats and vulnerabilities as well as other securing aspects.
“A+, Network + and Security+ are the three pillars of the IT field,” said Santiago. “From there it branches out to many directions.”
For more information call Richard Santiago at 450-6767 or visit room 219 at the John A. Lejeune Education Center.