How a Stroke Proved His Strength


Charles Gier using a computer

By Anthony Edwards, Programs Support Temp

There comes a point in everyone’s professional career when they realize the skills they possess may not be enough for them to move forward. For some, this realization is a slow burn. For Charles Grier, this realization was definitive and life-altering. It was a stroke.

In his own words, Charles “worked too much,” which is not hard to imagine considering he has had many jobs, including at DC Medicaid, an eight-year stint in the United States Marine Corps, and a supervisorial position at the United States Postal Service. He has a hearty work ethic born of discipline, endurance, and meticulous attention to detail. Charles was also employed at a furniture company for 15 years, working his way up to foreman – a career that seemed like a solid plan for his future and eventual retirement.

But, as the old adage goes, life is what happens when you make other plans.

His plans were interrupted suddenly when a stroke left Charles disabled and unable to work. Many people would roll over and just accept the cards life dealt them. But he isn’t like most.

Charles knew he wasn’t ready to retire, and he had the desire to learn something “completely new.”

He saw his stroke as an opportunity to slow down and learn new skills to return to the workforce with a better understanding of computers … as he had little to no knowledge of the “computer world.” Then Charles happened to walk by the Byte Back offices one day and decided to have a look inside.

He found a classroom environment that made him feel at ease, at home, welcomed.

“I had great teachers. My experience was great,” he says. “I felt really close to my classmates, and we’ve helped each other with networking opportunities.”Charles Grier

Charles started with PC for Beginners but has now completed intermediate Office Track and moved up to his first certification course, CompTIA IT Fundamentals. Instructor Andrew Quilpa is proud to say that he did a great job in the more advanced class and not only got certified but “rocked the exam!”

Charles plans to start the next level of IT training in October with Byte Back’s CompTIA A+ Certification course, and start his career in tech after.

He is confident, and he will get there, because there is just no quitting in Charles Grier, one of the hardest working students at Byte Back.


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