Alumni » Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight

Darrell Johnson
Darrell is a graduate of the HVAC  program. He is currently a Regional Facilities Manager at Western Union

Q: How did what you learn at CC Prep help with your current job? 

A:It’s a different type of conversation you can have when you have the skills I do. I am one person that does a million things that everyone wants to know. What I learned at CC Prep helped with managing commercial units and my work hand-in-hand with property managers. Being able to do HVAC units in facilities takes another bill off Western Union and has an impact on my salary. It makes me more valuable outside of a simple position. The HVAC training, for instance, could take $30, 000 off of the budget because I am able to do a job that the company won’t need to contract out. When I do project management like remodeling an office by the Whitehouse, they pay me for the project, scheduling and all other duties included.


I appreciate CC Prep because they give you another outlook on life. Mr. Moses, Mr. Nixon and Mr. Wilson helped me. I can take the skills I learned and translate that into everything I do. It makes me attractive to other employers.


Q: How did you initially get connected to CC Prep?

A: My father is a former police officer and he retired and went back into the police force. He had a connection with Mr. Goode and Mr. Goode led me to CC Prep.


Q: What did you do prior to getting in to HVAC?

I was in law enforcement for 8 years.


Q. What made you want to change careers?
A. Gentrification, discrimination. My father was Captain in Tenley town for almost 30 years.Once I joined the police department, I was heavily discriminated against. They paid me to leave after numerous claims of discrimination.After that I went to work for HOK. I was looking to gain a trade skill so I could help other young men and women.


Q: How difficult was it to find your first job?

A: I’ve been at Western Union for 4 years. 


Q: Do you have any memorable moments at CC Prep? 

A: I can honestly say in our team building efforts, I got to see how my classmates fell short in areas and we took the effort to help one another. It made a difference in the group I was in.  When you get to understand that we all need a little help or can help one another, it makes a difference. I appreciated the Mondays with Ms. Long too. From me being out of school, she found a way to connect me with the important import information I needed instead of the vast set of information. Like if I needed a vending machine delivered and I am not sure how big that vending machine is. I was able to talk through how to take measurements.


Q: Do you have any advice for CC Prep students starting out in the HVAC Field?

A: Take the opportunity to uplift yourselves. It’s not a long period of time, just stick with it. It will make a difference, you will see a result. I think CC Prep is a really good program. I hope I will be able to turn 1 or two people to the program.


Q: How does the skills and certifications you earned at CC Prep affect your salary?

A: It allows for me to open back up my employment contract to negotiate how much I want. You have to look at what companies are paying for your services and estimate from there. I would say it adds an extra $5k just for having the HVAC certification.


Myron Chase
Myron is a graduate of the CompTIA A+ program who currently serves as a Telecommunications Engineer at Accelera Solutions for DHS. 

Q: What does your current work entail?


A:I am a Tier II Help Desk Engineer. I take care of anywhere from 10-15 users a day helping with software installation. Software trouble shooting, local and network partner installations, network and connectivity issues. Issues with laptop and iphone. This year will be a year at the company I work for.  


Q: How did what you learn at CC Prep help you with your current at Accelera? 

A:It helped a lot. I took the test before in 1999. It was a good refresher ad helped bring me up to speed in terms of Windows 7, 8 and 10.


Q: How did you initially get connected to CC Prep?

A:I saw a flyer on my car in 2017. At the time, I was running my own business doing hospitality management and catering and was looking for a career change. I decided to go back and I think it was a smart move to make. I am still in debt from my last certification from a program in Beltsville so it was great that CC Prep was free.  


Q: How difficult was it to find your first job?

A:I don’t think it was too difficult. I started updating my resume on day 1 when I got accepted and started putting it out there because I was serious about the career change.


Q: Did you start out at your current position or were you promoted within the year?

A:I started in Rockville and they transferred me to downtown DC.


Q: What skills do you think helped you stand apart from other applicants?

A:Being able to communicate in the interview. If you can’t get your point across in the interview to the hiring manager, they won’t take you seriously.


Q: Do you have any memorable moments at CC Prep? 

A:I think I have to give a shout out to Mr. Paul. There was a time I wanted to leave CC Prep but Mr. Paul coached me to stay and stick it out.  I was looking into getting into real estate and all these other things but he coached me into sticking with IT because there are more opportunities out there and he was right.


Q: Any advice for CC Prep students starting out in the IT Field?

A: Be proactive. I have seen students sit and wait thinking that an opportunity will knock on their door and that’s not the case. The jobs won’t come to you, you have to be proactive in finding them.


Q: What was your starting salary and has it changed over this year?

A:I started at 25/hr. and am now at 32/hr.






Desiree Abrams
Desiree is a graduate of the Microsoft and IT Fundamentals programs. She currently works at the USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Q: How did what you learned at CC Prep help you in your current position?
A: The Word and Excel skills were really helpful when dealing with advanced data analysis. I was able to do certain things that others higher than me couldn't. 
Q: What does your work with the USDA currently entail?
A: I assist program leaders with research in the field of science and animal behavior. I also serve as an analyst for programs of national importance. Scientists apply for grants and my job is to pull together groups to review grant proposals, check for conflicts of interest and track pre and post grant awards.  
Q: How did you get connected to CC Prep?
A: I did an internet search for Microsoft programs in the DVMV that didnt cost $2,000 when I came across CC Prep. I attended an info session for the IT classes and Ray Bell really sealed the deal for me. 
Q: What advice would you give to CC Prep students now getting started in their job search and not quite sure where they want to be?
A: Explore as much of an area that you think you would be interested in and go from there. Don't limit yourself, you will be amazed as to what is out there for you.  
Q: Do you have any memorable moments 
A: I really enjoyed the IT info sessions. Mr. Bell gave good energy and a snap shot of opportunities that are available to people in the IT field. 

Q: What does your current work entail?

A: I am regional Facilities Manager for Western Union Business Solutions. I manage everything from Real Estate Portfolios to employees. I do shipping and ordering for all Western Unions.