Accelerate Student Profile-Beky Hayes

 “It’s hard. It requires a lot of study hours. Look into the Accelerate IT Program thoroughly before making a commitment you can’t keep. But don’t be scared. The resources and support will get you through the program if you put in the effort,” — Beky Hayes.


Austin Free-Net is a nonprofit organization working to bridge the Digital Divide in the Austin area since 1995. Through a grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, Austin Free-Net is able to provide the ACCELERATE IT Certification Program to a selected number of participants interested in training for entry-level network and computer system administrative positions. In addition, Austin Free-Net has dedicated an additional 40 hours of soft skill preparation: resumes, interviewing and communications. Working with placement officers, Austin Free-Net will engage ACCELERATE students obtaining one or more certifications with local and national-level employers for employment. Its target is to place 60% of ACCELERATE certificate achievers in jobs before August 2018.

Austin Free-Net is providing training for 180 participants meeting qualifications for the sum total of the registration fee, $30. Twenty-four students, 62% of them women, completed an online assessment and interviews to take their spot in this inaugural class.

One qualifier, Beky Hayes says she had sold herself short by calling herself technophobic. No longer does she fear technology…

“I loved the idea of a crash course in a high-demand skill,
with a pilot program aimed at my “demographic” with a goal
of getting more women into an industry that’s something like 5% women.”

It’s been a roller-coaster, between feelings of progress and accomplishment, and a sinking dread that I’ll never make it, confesses Beky! But Beky is making it . . . In fact, through her determination she has only two classes left in stage 2 of the Accelerate certification program and is admired by her classmates for her ability to pick up new concepts.

The course is 133 hours in CompTIA IT Fundamentals and A+ instruction.  Ms. Hayes has completed A+ instruction and will continue coursework in Network+ and Security+.

The Accelerate program pays for all training, labs and certification exams through a Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) grant.