Empowering Dreams: Ashley Powell's Journey from WKCTC to CSI | WKCTC

Empowering Dreams: Ashley Powell's Journey from WKCTC to CSI

Navigating Challenges and Seizing Opportunities - A Tale of Perseverance and Success in the Tech Industry

Ashley PowellWest Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) has long been a cornerstone for local talent development, preparing graduates like Ashley Powell to excel in their careers. Powell's journey from student to professional at Computer Services, Inc. (CSI) exemplifies the mutual benefits of hiring WKCTC graduates.

“Hiring graduates from WKCTC at CSI is important because it supports the company's talent needs, fosters community engagement, enhances diversity and inclusion, and contributes to the economic and social well-being of the local community,” said Beth Riddle, CSI vice president of human resources. Ashley's story is a testament to these benefits.

Ashley Powell, a resident of Ledbetter, had a passion for technology since high school. After graduating from Lone Oak High School in 2006, she enrolled in WKCTC’s Computer Technologies (CIT) program with plans to study programming/software engineering.

Life took her in a different direction when she became a first-time mother. She decided to change her major to business and took a few classes while working full-time. Despite pushing her technology dream to the back burner for nearly 10 years, Powell remained determined to pursue her passion. "I thought, ‘I am going to take the plunge to get back involved in technology and see where it takes me.’”

Ashley re-enrolled at WKCTC, balancing her studies online with full-time work and parenting. When one of her classes proved challenging online, she approached her advisor, DeAnn Jarvis, who provided invaluable support and guidance. Jarvis suggested that Ashley could come to campus for the class, and with the understanding of her current employer, that's exactly what Ashley did.

“Ms. Jarvis was so good to me," Powell said, grateful for the support she received. "She guided me with what classes I needed to take that could help me begin a career at CSI." Jarvis complimented Powell on her perseverance in reaching her goal. “Ashley is the type of hard-working student that we all want in class. She was driven to finish her CIT programming degree, and she knew that her end goal was to work at CSI,” she said. “It was great to share in her excitement as she started her new career. I am so proud of Ashley's success and so grateful to be a part of her story.”

With encouragement from Jarvis, Ashley attended an IT Connect conference held on the WKCTC campus, where she networked with IT professionals, including her future boss at CSI. “My boss said she remembered me raising my hand and asking questions at the conference," Ashley fondly recalled.

During the IT Connect conference, Powell also networked with another CSI employee, and they became fast friends. “It was about three months later, and she called me when a job came open at CSI; I applied and interviewed a few times,” said Powell, who graduated from WKCTC on May 11, 2019, and was hired at CSI just two days later. "That is what dreams are made of.”

Powell’s story is a shining example of what can be achieved through a partnership between WKCTC and local businesses. “Hiring local graduates from WKCTC benefits CSI by increasing community involvement, supporting talent development, and aligning with our mission to empower community and regional banks to achieve their goals and be competitive,” said Riddle. “Employee engagement tends to be high with WKCTC graduates, as many of them have previously established connections in the company.”