UW Professional & Continuing Education makes it possible for busy professionals to keep learning at the University of Washington, providing them with the opportunity to update their skills or delve into a new field to land their dream job, like David Jackson.
For nearly 15 years, David Jackson worked as a network processor at a bank. While he enjoyed his job, he increasingly felt he could contribute more. “I loved the company, but I’d been there for a while and wanted to do something else. I was hungry and looking for the next challenge,” David says.
To explore opportunities, David began to take business administration courses to pursue his associate degree. Along the way, a colleague suggested that he look into Human Resources.
You show someone a certificate with ‘University of Washington’ on it, and they’re impressed. That name holds weight and people associate it with greatness.— David Jackson, Alum, UW Certificate in Human Resources Essentials
“I love helping people solve their challenges and problems. I’m compassionate and understanding, and the more I looked into it, I started to think that maybe HR would be a great way to use those skills to help others,” says David.
David took a stand-alone, online class, which only whetted his appetite. “After that course, I realized that I wanted to find a program that offered a more in-depth course of study. I found the UW Certificate in Human Resources Essentials, and after that, everything clicked for me.”
The Certificate in Human Resources Essentials is a three-course certificate that provides students with the fundamentals required to succeed in the HR field. The Certificate provides a foundation for people with little experience in HR, which made it a perfect fit for David.
“From the very first class, I found that I was learning useful things. I started to understand how exciting HR can be. And the more I learned, the more I realized that I wanted to be part of an HR team.”
David continued his job at the bank and began to take night classes. “The certificate’s flexibility was key for me,” he says. "I’m a father, a husband and I work full-time, so I didn’t have time to waste or mess around.”
It didn’t take David long to begin putting his classroom learning into practice at work. “Over time, I became the informal go-to guy for a lot of HR-type questions, and I enjoyed that. I took a lot of pride in the fact that what I was learning was helpful for my co-workers and me.”
Another motivating factor that drove David was his family. “I’ve always told my kids about the importance of education and life-long learning. I didn’t want to be someone who said, ‘school’s important,’ but then didn’t follow through and complete my education.”
“I wanted to take this opportunity to grow and learn for myself, but I also wanted to be a real-life example for my kids,” explains David.
I felt like I had this gold trophy in my hands that was going to open doors for me that wouldn’t have been open before.— David Jackson, Alum, UW Certificate in Human Resources Essentials
David completed the certificate in the fall of 2019, and it didn’t take him long to put his newfound education to good use. A few months later, a position in Human Resources came open at the bank where he’d been working all along.
“I knew something was going to come along, that I hadn’t gone to school in vain. And when this position opened, I went straight in and applied,” says David.
In addition to the classroom knowledge, the certificate also prepared David to succeed in the interview process. “When I interviewed for this job, I was really confident because of everything I’d learned in the program. That confidence came through, and I think it’s a big reason they decided to hire me.”
David also believes that University’s reputation increased his chances. “You show someone a certificate with ‘University of Washington’ on it, and they’re impressed. That name holds weight and people associate it with greatness.”
"I felt like I had this gold trophy in my hands that was going to open doors for me that wouldn’t have been open before,” he says.