Success Story: Mohammed Adnan, JetBlue

In the past year, newspapers have reported how U.S. employers are having difficulty recruiting for and filling a record-high 6.7 million open jobs. To solve this problem, companies are turning to alternative methods of talent acquisition to target untapped, hidden talent—which is exactly how Mohammed Adnan, a 27-year-old Workforce Opportunity Services (WOS) On Demand participant, came to work at JetBlue as an Automation Test Engineer after years of struggling in his career on his own.

Adnan’s path toward working in technology manifested early, and he proved to be a self-starter. “Starting in high school, I taught myself how to build and repair computer systems,” he says.

While still in high school, Adnan became a freelance IT tech professional tasked with computer repairs and small-office network setups for multiple companies and later several independent pharmacy shops. Eventually the demands of hopping from one place to the next—plus pursuing an associate’s degree in comparative science in his spare time, starting in 2010—began to take a toll. “It was a high-stress environment and left me exhausted mentally and physically almost every day,” he remembers.

In college, Adnan enjoyed a programming class so much that he decided to learn it on his own. “It was perhaps my calling,” he explains. In two years, he taught himself web application development using online educational tools such as Udemy, Lynda, Pluralsight, Treehouse and YouTube.

Despite his natural aptitude and entrepreneurial spirit, Adnan applied to programming positions with little success, sometimes securing interviews but never a full-time job. One day, he applied to a role that WOS had posted on Indeed. He soon received a callback—and WOS took Adnan under its wing. “People tend not to hire less experienced workers,” Adnan says. “WOS acted like a jump-start platform and plays a vital role in mitigating those concerns.”

First, Adnan interviewed with a WOS Talent Acquisition Associate, who assessed Adnan’s skills and how they fit the JetBlue role. “There was a programming test related to the position—so that kind of laid out how everything is at the moment and what I need to do to get better at it,” he says.

Less than six months later, in July 2017, Adnan began his job at JetBlue, but his relationship with WOS continued. “From time to time, [Client Service Manager] Steven Horowitz came by to check in how everything was, and then he would tell me how everything was on JetBlue’s side, like if they have any complaints or if they like my work. I definitely found it useful.”

Horowitz praises Adnan, saying, “He’s done a lot on his own.” By partnering with WOS, JetBlue knows that “if there is an issue, WOS will handle it—and that helps jump-start his career as well.”

For Adnan, joining the WOS program gave him the boost he needed to change his life. “It’s a drastic improvement,” he shares. “Now I’m sitting in one [office] location and focusing on one or two projects at a time. It’s comfortable, less pressure, less headache, and I have a healthy work-life balance.”

Additionally, Adnan has the opportunity to grow his skills in a corporate environment. “It actually pushed me to learn more. In terms of programming, I’m seeing changes in terms of how much I can accomplish. So it’s going in a positive direction.”