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"Just do it," he says. "Don’t put it off. Don’t be scared. Be prepared to manage your time, but just do it."
In March 2015, the 30-year-old Arseo will proudly receive his master’s degree in IT management, one of several NJVC employees slated for continuing-education degrees in the next 12 months, the result of a little help from his company and a big gamble on himself.
"It’s an investment in myself that I know will eventually pay off in tangible and intangible ways," he says. "Continuing education is different than going to school in your youth because you have to fit it around life, but it can be done.”
Arseo joined several senior NJVC executives at the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce’s "Many Passions, One Spirit,” at the recently renovated Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis Thursday night, an event which honored commitments to continuing education and career and marked a confluence of core NJVC principles, involvement in the community and support of the workforce.
NJVC employs several hundred IT professionals in the St. Louis area and is committed to creating a better workforce for customers in the Gateway to the West city. Arseo is just one of many leveraging corporate programs to improve his capabilities in a competitive marketplace.
Right, of course, doesn't always mean easy. Arseo said that while the decision to pursue an advanced degree was a difficult one, it was one he knew was always correct, and always cheered by family and coworkers.
"The continued pursuit of education is supported by NJVC,” Arseo says. "In turn, I take pride in not allowing school to affect my workload or interfere with my job.”
Like many early career professionals, Arseo’s career path wasn’t exactly a stroll down manicured paths from high school through four years of football games and Ivy-lined buildings to a degree and job at 22. Rather, Arseo, a veteran of the the Illinois Air National Guard, who served three deployments in Southwest Asia, completed his undergraduate studies in business administration at 28. In 2010, he joined NJVC supporting a national security customer as a systems engineer.
Yet, though Arseo became an award-winning member of his team soon after joining the company, he felt his bachelor’s degree in business administration, while useful, was too general; say, the equivalent of getting a driver’s license for and sitting down in the driver’s seat of a big rig.
That’s when an old habit kicked in.
"I don’t like staying idle,” Arseo says. "I always want to continue to better myself.”
So Arseo applied to the IT management program, gained acceptance and is already seeing an improvement in his own work as a result of the program.
The part NJVC played in his success story is a reflection of corporate commitment to personnel, says NJVC’s Vice President of Strategy, Charles McGaugh.
"At NJVC, our people are our company,” McGaugh says. "Investing in their future is synonymous with investing in our company’s future; advancing their career is advancing our company and our ability to compete in this highly technical industry. We do it because it’s the right thing to do for our people, who give so much for our company and the client, but also because it strengthens our entire team.”
Arseo is one of many recipients of NJVC’s continuing education support plans, which range from an extensive library of online materials, through reimbursement for training programs and college tuition. In 2013, the company offered college tuition reimbursement for 79 employees, including five pursuing doctoral degrees. NJVC also paid for numerous professional certifications for Cisco and Juniper technologies, CompTIA security training, program management courses with the Program Management Institute and others.
The investment in its staff serves as a complement to its singular corporate goal: helping customers achieve mission.
"Our first job is to provide the best service to our customers that we can,” McGaugh says. "Continually improving the quality of our workforce and their skillsets provides our customers with capability that grows at the rapid speed of IT."
For Arseo, who hopes to leverage his degree to advance his career into a management role, the costs associated are more than blue books and backpacks. While he speaks proudly that his work hasn’t interfered with customer work for the day, he speaks contemplatively that it does mean nights away from family and his four-month old child, time spent in the details of technology rather than the conversational gurgles of a newborn.
But the results are already making an impact and his decision is as resolute as his advice.
"Managing time, getting eight hours of sleep or three meals a day may not happen, but the end result is a better situation for me and my family."