Starting over is difficult for anyone. But what if you are starting on a new path, for a new life which happens to be the complete opposite of what you have known your entire life? Would you be brave enough to make that change? Lincoln Tech Alumni, Allan Baron was, and in his case, it saved his life.
Allan grew up on the streets surrounded by gang violence. He says he rarely attended school, spending much of his childhood caught up in the violence himself. He was on a dangerous path, one that resulted in his being shot seven times. He knew he needed to make a change, but didn’t know how.
Allan had a friend who happened to be a student at Lincoln Tech in Melrose Park, IL, training for an Automotive career. This friend, now a fellow, Lincoln Tech Alumni, was persistent in getting Allan into Lincoln Tech to turn his life around.
“He kept pressuring me for eight months, but I was messing around in the streets,” Allan says. “He wanted me to go back to school so we could work together. I was afraid of going back [to school] because I had been out since 2008 when I got my GED.”
Eventually Allan told his friend he wasn’t interested in automotive, but that electrical work would suit him more. The friend then told him about Lincoln’s electronics career training program and urged him to take the first step. He also passed along Allan’s number to an administrator in the Electrical field. When the administrator heard what he had to say about Allan and his life, he called Allan and reassured him that going back to school was a great first step in getting his life together. Allan recalls, “My friend and Lincoln Tech saved me.”
Allan enrolled and started Lincoln Tech’s Electronic Systems Technician program. “I fell in love with it!” he says. “Not only did Lincoln teach me the technical parts of the job, but I also learned how to be more professional.”
He went on to add, “Lincoln wants to help you and they don’t give up on you. They want you to succeed.”
The head of Allan’s program, Education Supervisor Mark Barzyk, went so far as to recommend Allan to the owner of Alarm Security Link. After interviewing with the company, he was hired two days later, securing a job post-graduation in April of 2016.
An Inspiration to Others
“Allan started his journey with us like many of our students, not understanding why we had such a strong emphasis on the professionalism necessary for the electronic systems field,” says Barzyk. “But as time passed he embraced the employability and customer service skills that we strive to pass onto each student and excelled.”
“I have been in education for 37 years with 23 of those years as an instructor, and 27 of them here at Lincoln,” he adds. “It is the ‘Allans’ in our world that drive us to do what we do and keep us fueled to continue. It brings me great joy to see him in a better place in his life and to be a part of that.”
“Allan is a prime example of a student who had a dream,” says Karen Clark, President of Lincoln Tech in Melrose Park. “He joined our campus family, embraced the program and accepted our support and guidance. This in return gave him success. We are proud of Allen and his accomplishments. We are privileged to have been part of his life changing event and the start of his new Career as an Installer/Technician for Alarm Security, Inc.”
Allan hopes his success story will help others. “My life is way different. I went from being in gangs on the streets, doing drugs and wasting my life away to now having the motivation to give my kids a better life.”
“The Melrose Park Lincoln Tech family works hard every day to provide our students with a quality education and to stay focused on their career goals,” Clark adds. “When students stay focused, work hard and utilize the resources available, they can reach success.”
Allan’s advice for students going into Lincoln? “Keep the faith! Don’t give up, keep working hard because hard work pays off.”
All of us at Lincoln Tech are incredibly proud of Allan and his remarkable success story!