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Company boasts 75 percent placement rate.

Our last issue emphasized the continuing relevance of training, especially in troubled economic times. Dennis Muller, the president of Chicago-based MicroTrain, told us how his company is staying relevant in the training industry.

What made you start MicroTrain?

The company was founded in 1999 by Stan Van Nice and myself. As past technology trainers ourselves, Stan and I realized that other training facilities were not providing quality service to the customer. We would look at each other with amazement at how these facilities operated. We felt compelled to make a change. Stan and I have taken the position that the student or trainee is our top priority.

How many people work for MicroTrain? How many did you start with?

The company started with just the two of us. We did everything–we handled sales, marketing, training, and all other aspects of running a business. Currently we have 21 full-time and part-time staff. With 18 training rooms between two locations we are one of the largest training facilities in the Chicago area.

How long have you offered career services?

Career services have been offered from day one. We have a full time placement director on staff and that person’s entire role is to assist in finding employment for students. This goes way beyond just résumé preparation. We provide full, mock interviews, pointers on what to say and what not to say on that interview and of course, we point the individual in the direction of their dream job. There are jobs out there, but they are not always advertised in print or on the Internet. We network with companies every day, building relationships and then providing a list of qualified candidates as needed.

How successful are your students in finding jobs?

For individuals requesting our services, our placement rate is around 75 percent. We understand that the success of our company starts with the success of the individual training including job placement assistance. If an individual has trained with us, we can almost assure that person job interviews.

Where do most of your students come from?

Our students come from all walks of life. There are a lot of individuals making a career change to information technology. If a company needs training, we customize that training to their specific needs.

Have you had a lot of interest in your new wireless networking and Internet security classes?

A lot of interest would be an understatement. We are offering the Certified Wireless Networking Administrator (CWNA) certification. We’ve partnered with Planet3 Wireless of Atlanta, and we’re the only authorized training facility in wireless networking for the entire Midwest. The Internet security course we offer has garnered great interest since our customized course offers certification from two major vendors, Cisco and CheckPoint. These vendors make up approximately 80 percent of the Internet firewall market. Because this is an emerging technology, the typical network engineer has little firewall experience, and Internet security experts are sorely needed.

How long are most of your programs?

Our courses run anywhere from a one-day Microsoft Word class to the nine-month Cisco program. Our typical program runs around five months. Our most popular program is the network administrator career track. This consists of learning computer hardware basics, network administration and database support.

How many students do you train each year?

Last year we provided training for more than 1,200 individuals at both our Chicago Loop and Lombard facilities. Our student retention rate is over 90 percent.

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