Hiwot was born in Ethiopia and working as a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. She loved the city, but the work was hard and the hours were making it impossible for her to get her degree from a community college. So when her sister invited her to move to California to be closer, she said okay and tried something new.

“I was tired of working nights and I was tired of casinos,” she said. “Working, taking care of family, and going to college – it was too much. I tried and I failed.”

She needed a new career, and she found Calbright. “I wanted to study to be a Salesforce admin, and when I saw I could study for free at Calbright … okay, why not? Because the alternative was to pay $2,000 or more for classes like this.”

Registering, she said “was easy,” and she found she really liked the learning environment. “The classes were very understandable, the outlines are very good guidance, the Slack community is very helpful. It was good for me,” she said.

“But the thing that I was most happy with were the check-ins,” she added. “The instructors and counselors, they reach out to you and say that if you need any help, I’m here. Any time you’re studying, on your own schedule, there are people available on the phone or online to help you. It’s really great support for a student. You feel important.”