Support for change: Lori knew there was a more secure future in IT


“I am thankful that my instructors throughout the Academy program had faith in my ability and never gave up on my constant questions and mistakes along the way.”


Lori Shiroda had found herself at a career dead-end. Having worked in several different positions in food service and manufacturing, and even as an administrative assistant, she had been laid off several times, or found the work unrewarding.

When the 2008 recession hit, Lori knew it was time to reinvent herself, and after seeing jobs advertised in IT, decided that was her path. People she knew in IT recommended Cisco Networking Academy.

“When I chose to go back to college and attend the Henry Ford Cisco Academy, I knew it was related to IT. But I really didn’t know anything about Cisco or what the true meaning of networking, routing, switching, or any of it was,” she says. “I didn’t know what was in store for me that first day I walked into class and heard the humming and whistling of the lab equipment running at the end of each section of tables.”

Jumping in

Lori jumped in with both feet, taking classes six days a week and working in the lab on Saturdays. While raising her family, she regularly worked and studied late nights and early mornings. She graduated in 2011 with an Applied Science Degree in Network Administration and a certificate from Cisco Networking Academy.

The support you need

Lori appreciated the practical side of the Networking Academy environment and the support from the instructors. “You’re going to be faced with a lot of challenging labs and hands-on work,” she says. “That is the great thing about Cisco Networking Academy at Henry Ford College; they have physical equipment for you to gain the experience you need in the real field.”

“Don’t get frustrated when your efforts fail in these labs. Pick yourself up and keep trying. Because if you don’t fail, you don’t know how it works. This will be your biggest teaching moment. Once you finally solve the real issue, there is not a greater feeling of accomplishment.”

“I am thankful that my Academy instructors had faith in my ability and never gave up on my constant questions and mistakes along the way,” she says. 

Internship experience

After graduating, Lori had the opportunity to join KLA Laboratories working full-time in WiFi while gaining experience in several other areas of expertise. Today, Lori wears multiple hats at the company but is primarily focused on the design, configuration, and surveying of wireless networks. She works on multiple large-scale projects in manufacturing, hospitality, sports and entertainment, and education environments.

The pace of IT keeps Lori engaged. “With this industry, things change and happen fast. It keeps things very interesting, and you never have a chance to get bored. No time for that!”

Additionally, Lori appreciates the willingness of her workmates to share their wealth of experience and knowledge. “From day one, I felt very welcomed,” she says. “I am thankful that KLA took a chance on me, with the little experience I had. They put me in front of all the right mentors to kickstart my new and incredible career. No one wants to see you fail. That’s why KLA makes you a success. I feel appreciated by my team members all the way up to upper management.”

It's a common theme of Lori’s experience in IT and a stark contrast with her previous jobs.

“The great thing about this field is that everyone is there to support you. Your instructors, your peers, management, even customers,” she says. “Everyone wants you to succeed. That is what makes this industry different from many others I have been in over the years.”


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