School at Work Graduate: Toby Boatwright

Toby Boatwright delivering a speech at the School at Work program graduation to his fellow classmates.
Toby Boatwright delivering a speech at the School at Work program graduation to his fellow classmates.

     Recent School at Work (SAW) graduate, Toby Boatwright, grew up fixing PC computers as a hobby. As he got more and more into gaming, he needed to have faster graphic cards to keep up. This led him to fix his own computers, which he learned how to do through trial and error. By enrolling in the SAW program, the door has opened for Toby to continue this passion taking it from a hobby to a career, with the intent of getting a job in IT.   

     Toby has been a UC Davis Health employee for five years as of this October, working as an Environmental Service worker. He strips and waxes floors, is responsible for carpet care, and performs other services that involve cleaning. Last year, he decided to apply for SAW, the free 6-month, educational program offered to employees of UC Davis Health, learning to develop new skills for the workplace.  

     “I’ve been interested in exploring something different, with a little bit more diversity and complexity,” remarked Toby. “But I’m not a college graduate and do not have robust schooling to back up my computer experience.”  

     Toby decided to visit the Training & Development department to get some insight on maybe transferring to a different position and was encouraged to apply for SAW.   

     “I thought if I can’t take this free educational opportunity, would I really go to college later and pay for a similar opportunity.”  

     During the weekly course Toby said that every subject they learned was enjoyable thanks to the great staff. His favorite part though, was the career profile they took.   

     “I didn’t know how to navigate where I wanted to go. All the while you were doing the work, they were gearing you into looking into other careers.”  

Toby with his family at the graduation ceremony.
Toby with his family at the graduation ceremony.

     Another aspect that Toby mentioned he was appreciative for, was the new outlook that this course taught him to have on his current job. The new communication skills he learned, have helped him excel.  

     “I work in the cancer center, sometimes. Knowing the patients I am going to be around, I have to be mindful of the chemicals I bring. Asking the right questions to the nurses about what I can connect and/or disconnect, or bring in, makes a big difference about the perception of custodial work in EVS."

     Learning the importance of taking these extra steps has helped Toby build a rapport with his employers.

     “They trust my work and that gives me a sense of pride.”  

     Toby graduated the SAW program with his wife and children in attendance.  

     “To have my team there to support me felt really good. They have been my source of energy to get out of my lethargy and do something completely different.”  

     Since the end of the program Toby has taken the initiative and enrolled into an 18-week course through the public library called Comptia A+. This certification course is the next step for him to get an entry level IT job that could jump start his life.    

     “I feel accomplished. In the grand scheme it may seem minor but I feel accomplished because I put in the time and effort and I also got the mastery certificate in addition to the completion certificate. The SAW program has given me confidence to start new endeavors and look to greener pastures.”  

Learn more about SAW and the graduation ceremony here.