A Recipe for Success


Excellence in Student Leadership award

Steve Seiden, board member, and Kelley Ellsworth, former executive director, present Ellen Bredt with the Kelley Ellsworth Excellence in Student Leadership award.

You Will Not Fall through the Cracks

By Yvette Scorse, Communications Associate 

Ellen Bredt describes being recently unemployed as being tossed around a system, from one job training to another, being given handouts to improve her resume but without personal attention or real help in landing a job or launching a career. These programs never worked for her.

At Byte Back her experience has been very different, she said. In June she’s set to become a Microsoft Office Specialist in Excel after taking the Excel certification course through the IT Academy.

A Recipe for Success

Ellen compares Byte Back’s approach to student success to baking cookies. She calls this a “recipe for success.”

“Like baking cookies, Byte Back takes in small batches of students, and turns out batches of prepared job candidates,” Ellen said. The three steps in the recipe? (1) training courses, (2) career counseling, and (3) employment connections.

The result? “Byte Back grads get jobs. We have confidence for the first time in years,” Ellen said.

Ellen BredtExcellent Ellen!

While Byte Back puts a lot into training and employment readiness, Ellen is the type of student who has truly done her part to make the program work for her. From a TANF recipient who has experienced many job trainings to finally finding the right equation for herself, Ellen has regained her confidence.

Ellen was awarded the Kelley Ellsworth Excellence in Student Leadership Award in May, recognizing her ambition, drive, and renewed confidence! She was surprised to receive such an important recognition from Kelley, the former executive director of Byte Back. “My mind kept going to all the people who support me every day,” she said, naming staff who have kept her from falling through the cracks.

Giving Back & Looking Forward

“Because I am not going to fall through the cracks, I have the energy and the need to make sure nobody else does either,” she said about giving back to future students. “That is part of the dynamic that makes the classes here work.”

This is also the inspiring Byte Back energy that has made Ellen think that she might want to pursue a career in teaching. From professional interests in bookkeeping, teaching, and owning her own business, she said she might just combine these ambitions into one. No matter the direction she takes, Ellen emphasized “setting a good, healthy, dignified example for my daughter.” “That is the biggest reward of all,” she said.


Update from January 2017

This month, Ellen started as Byte Back’s training manager!

Since coming to Byte Back as a student, Ellen showed immense determination for herself and for other students coming through the program. When she was in the classroom, she found a renewed love for education and for helping others. She wanted to be involved in our work. Ellen became a certification tutor in August 2015 and has been dedicated to helping students earn their certifications since then.

Now, as training manager, Ellen manages all instructors, including staff instructors, AmeriCorps volunteers, and community volunteers, and she manages adjustments – big and small- to the Byte Back curriculum to keep instruction relevant and useful for all Byte Back students.