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Computer Systems Institute donates technology to help Massachusetts Immigrants

• Computer Systems Institute donates 20 new tablets to leading ESOL and literacy organization
• Technology will be used to facilitate free, personalized and flexible one-on-one tutoring with vulnerable individuals across the commonwealth
• Massachusetts ranks as one of the most educated states in the country, and yet has a high growth rate of immigrants and English Language Learners

Boston, MA, November 22, 2017 – Computer Systems Institute, a leading provider of academic programs focusing on business, computer science, and healthcare industries across Massachusetts and Illinois, and proponent of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) education and technology, is giving back to the community with a donation of 20 tablets to the Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts (LVM). The Dell Venue 10.1 inch screen tablets will enable students to access various learning resources as well as collaborate with others.

LVM impacts the lives of more than 1,000 adults across the Commonwealth each year by providing free, confidential and individualized tutoring in basic literacy and ESOL. For many with childcare responsibilities, transportation difficulties, or anxieties about learning in a classroom-style environment, this is the only program that can help ensure success and keep motivation strong.

Julia Lowder, CEO of Computer Systems Institute, who is an immigrant herself said: “I understand the challenges that people face when they move to a new country and cannot speak the language. That is why we’re supporting LVM in their mission to educate those in our community who are seeking development as they enhance their knowledge of our language and culture. These individuals have the potential to excel and giving them the right tools to support their learning is a step in the right direction to reaching their full potential.”

“We’re incredibly grateful for the donation of tablets. These will enable our volunteers to provide even more flexible tutoring and enable individuals to take their literacy to the next level”, said Roberta Soolman, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers Massachusetts.

CSI intern praised as ‘best of the best’

• Computer Systems Institute partners with Westin Lombard Yorktown Center to provide a student with real-life work experience
• Marek Micek, originally from Czech Republic uses his English as a Second Language (ESL) and Hospitality Industry Professional training from CSI to thrive in his Front Desk role
• Michael Feigenbaum, general manager at the Westin Lombard said, “It is hard to find interns with the quality of skills that Marek has.”

Computer Systems Institute (CSI) today announced that one of its students has been hailed as one of the best interns that Westin Lombard, Yorktown has employed.

The student, Marek Micek, originally from the Czech Republic, is three months into his internship as Front Desk representative at Westin Lombard, Yorktown Center, Illinois.

The internship was part of an agreement between CSI and Westin Lombard that allows students to earn academic credit while providing them the competitive advantage of taking abstract theories, concepts, and case studies learned in the classroom and apply them to real life work situations.

Michael Feigenbaum, general manager at the Westin Lombard said, “We have worked with several interns over the years, but not all students are able to communicate as well as Marek does. His training at CSI in English language and hospitality has proved to be the ideal fit for what we look for in a person. Clearly it is important for our front desk staff to be very personable with excellent language skills; Marek demonstrates an exceptional level of English language development.”

Marek Micek added, “Three years ago I didn’t speak a word of English. I found CSI through Google and was immediately impressed with its reviews and the courses it offers. The school has a friendly environment with great teachers who get all the students involved in their learning. In addition to this, my internship at Westin Lombard perfectly complements my CSI training in English and hospitality; I am learning more every day. I talk to people when they arrive, check them in and out, answer calls, advise them of our hospitality programs and generally make them feel welcome. Westin Lombard is a great company to work for, with high customer service standards; it offers me the ideal career opportunity.”

Julia Lowder, CEO of Computer Systems Institute said, “We recognise the value of high quality internships aligned to our student’s area of study. Westin Lombard is an exceptional example of where the right organization can help our students to learn while potentially training up future employees. We are proud of Marek Micek and the success of his internship.”

ESL Academy marks its launch with free training

• ESL Academy launches with an offer of free intermediate level English training for students who meet admissions requirements
• ESL Academy courses will occur at partner school Computer Systems Institute’s sites across Massachusetts

September 25, 2017: Computer Systems Institute, the Illinois and Massachusetts post-secondary education provider announced the launch of its partnership with the ESL Academy in Massachusetts to focus on the delivery of the highest quality English as a second language training.

The ESL Academy is offering qualifying students the limited time opportunity to sign up for free,* intermediate level, English as a second language (ESL) training.

The ESL Academy supports students across Massachusetts to improve their language writing and grammar skills. To celebrate the launch, all students who meet admissions requirements and enroll this month will be offered the intermediate writing and grammar 30-week course (1 day a week) free of charge.

The courses will be held at its partner school, Computer Systems Institute’s (CSI), three Massachusetts campuses in Allston, Charlestown, and Worcester.

Julia Lowder, CEO of CSI said, “The free part-time course is aimed to give students the extra support they need to achieve their professional and academic goals. Having been an immigrant to the US many years ago, I appreciate the challenges these students have in our highly competitive work environment. The offer of free training to celebrate the launch of the ESL Academy supports our aim to give them the best opportunities available.”

Students who want to apply for this course must register in person at a CSI location by October 28, 2017.

In addition to this free part-time course, ESL Academy plans to offer a wide range of ESL full and part-time courses. Courses include beginner, intermediate and advanced ESL, general writing, literature, communication, cultural immersion and English for travel. Partner school CSI operates across Massachusetts and Illinois and also offers a variety of courses in computing, business and healthcare related areas.

For further information please visit ESL Academy at http://www.goeslnow.com/

Computer Systems Institute supports South Asian students in the Chicago region

• CSI has donated school bags and equipment worth more than $5000 to support local South Asian students
• The donation is supporting students from low income families
• Julia Lowder, CEO of CSI, holds social responsibility at the core of her business philosophy

Chicago, 22 September, 2017: Computer Systems Institute (CSI), a private school with six campuses nationwide headquartered in Skokie, Illinois, has supported South Asian communities in northern Chicago by providing them with student resources for the new school year.

ZAM’s Hope Community Resource Center, a community center located at Devon Street of northern Chicago, received a donation of school supplies with a value of approximately $5,000, from CSI.

ZAM’s Hope Community Resource Center specializes in housing, after school, senior and family emergency programs. The donation from CSI will be used to support low-income families in the Rogers Park, West Ridge and West Roger’s Park communities, by removing some of their education costs. Amongst other supplies, CSI provided school bags that fit the educational needs of close to 200 students of various ages.

Zehra Quadri, executive director of ZAM’s Hope Community Resource Center said, “We would like to express our gratitude to Computer Systems Institute for the generous donation; we are always striving to do more for those in our community and beyond.”

“Because of generous donations like those of CSI, we are able to continue to serve low-income individuals from nine different cultural backgrounds in the Chicagoland area and beyond. At ZAM’s Hope C.R.C., we firmly believe that every child deserves to have a great year at school. The backpack donations will help these children thrive both in and out of their classrooms.”

CSI has approximately 2,600 active international students in its six campuses in Illinois and Massachusetts.

As an immigrant herself, Julia Lowder, CEO of Computer Systems Institute said, “Social responsibility is the core of my business philosophy. CSI’s mission is very clear; we were established in 1989 to help people achieve their professional and academic goals. I believe that growing and developing your professional skills helps individuals to lead more fulfilling lives. CSI was founded on that premise and continues to strive to help individuals across America realize and achieve their goals. We are therefore delighted to be able to support ZAM’s Hope Community Resource Center and it students in this small way.”

“The community you live in shapes your world view, it supports you when you need help and connects you with other communities so that together we make our lives and the lives of our children better. Whenever CSI opens a school in a new location, we invite the local workforce to get involved and support the local economy. Many of our employees live in the communities we serve. CSI has held blood drives, bone marrow drives, many food drives and other wonderful opportunities for our staff and students to contribute. I am very proud of our students who’ve volunteered at various health organizations and other businesses to support their missions as well as gain new skills and experiences.”

The donation to ZAM’s Hope is part of the #BackToSchool community initiatives of Computer Systems Institute in the 2017 school season.

For more information about Computer Systems Institute and the programs it provides, visit: www.csinow.edu

14 Bad Habits That Could Cost You Your Job

Chicago Tribune – Business

By Jacquelyn SmithForbes
October 15, 2013

Bad Habits That Can Cost You Your Job

We all have bad habits. Perhaps you procrastinate, gossip or lack punctuality. These negative behaviors don’t necessarily make you a terrible person-but as an employee they can reflect poorly upon you, and even cost you your job. “A single bad habit is not likely to get you fired immediately, but the cumulative effect of the bad habit over time can,” saysDr. Katharine Brooks, executive director of the office of personal and career development at Wake Forest University and author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. “People might notice one bad habit, and it preps them to notice other faults or problems.”A bad habit can also lead to isolation or shunning in the office, which can affect everything from your performance evaluation to your ability to do your job, she says.

In Pictures: Bad Habits That Can Cost You Your Job

Rick Myers, the founder and chief executive of Talent Zoo,a site for marketing, advertising and digital professionals,agrees that bad habits can destroy one’s career. But, he says, the most unfortunate part is that “people rarely realize they have these habits.”

“One of the best pieces of advice to give to someone who wants to advance in their company is to become more self-aware and be sure they are practicing habits that will be of value to the company,” Myers says. Here are 14 bad habits that can cost you your job:


Misrepresenting your credentials or intentionally plagiarizing, lying on time sheets or billable hours, misusing expense accounts or abusing company credit cards,stealing the kudos for a co-workers’ accomplishments, or otherwise robbing your employers blind can all cost you your job. “The surest way for any of us to bring our career to a sudden and miserable end is to have the habit of hedging the truth and lying in ways small and large,” says Ann Kaiser Stearns, Ph.D., psychologist and best-selling author of Living Through Personal Crisis (Idyll Arbor Press, 2010). “Dishonesty is a slippery slope with a devastating crash waiting at the end,” she adds. “Whether we work in business or banking, academia or the army, publishing or philanthropy, housing or health care, the marketplace or the ministry, if we lack integrity and betray our employer, we don’t deserve to keep our jobs.”


“This habit can seriously hurt you in a work setting,” Brooks says. “If you’re one of those folks who believes that you do your best work at the last minute and put off projects or assignments until the day (or hour) before they’re due, you may not be aware of the impact your habit is having on your co-workers.” If your last-minute rush requires others to work quickly, you will likely anger them, and you’ll be the first one blamed when a project fails or isn’t completed on time.


So many of us habitually gossip, whine or complain. But do any of these too often and your job could be on the line. “These all lead to the same end result: you become a headache for your manager,” says Amy Hoover, president of Talent Zoo. “Your boss is likely responsible for ensuring her teams are contributing to positive morale and anyone on the team who is counterproductive to that reflects poorly on her,” she adds. “Negative employees are often referred to as ‘cancer’ by upper management for good reason: they will eventually be cut out.” A good approach if you have a complaint is to speak with your manager directly, in private. Never drum up your co-workers for support first.


If you constantly arrive late to work, or return late from breaks, it displays an attitude of complacency and carelessness, says Roxanne Peplow, director of student services at Computer Systems Institute. “So be prompt or even a bit early to show that you are time conscious and that you do care about your job and other people’s time, as well.” Hoover agrees. “Whether you intend to or not, arriving late shows disrespect to the social contract of the office place, as well as your co-workers who do make an effort to arrive one time.” In Pictures: Bad Habits That Can Cost You Your Job

Poor e-mail communication

This can involve everything from not responding to e-mails to not being aware of how you come across in an e-mail. “You might be perceived as abrupt or rude, or too long-winded or wordy,” Brooks says. If you have a bad habit of taking too long to check or respond to e-mails, you could miss important meetings or deadlines, cause delays or confusion, or come off as unprofessional.

Social media addiction

Another common path to job loss is the habitual obsession that many employees have with social media, Stearns says. “If you said going onFacebook twenty times a day doesn’t interfere with your work, you’d be lying.” Some companies have taken measures to monitor or limit their employees’ social media use, while others have blocked these sites completely. So beware: spending too much time on social media or other websites not related to your work can cost you your job.

Bad body language habits

Do you routinely roll your eyes? Do you have a weak handshake? Do you avoid making eye contact? These could all be career killers. “People must understand that actions speak louder than words,” Peplow says. “And the majority of our communication is done through non-verbal cues.” Co-workers, managers or clients may perceive some of your non-verbal communication habits as rude or unprofessional-and these things could eventually have a significant impact on the advancement of your career.


If you’re always distracted-a bad habit that plenty of employees possess-you might fail to properly assess the culture of the workplace, which can be damaging to your career. “Each workplace has its own culture and style, whether it’s the official or unofficial dress code, the social atmosphere, or the official and unofficial hierarchy,” Brooks says. “Failure to observe the culture and fit in can create tension or mark you as different, and potentially less desirable.” You’ll also want to be aware of personal habits that might be offensive or distracting to co-workers. “Working in an office setting demands that you be sensitive to coworkers and not behave in a manner which distracts them from their work or makes their work setting uncomfortable,” she adds. “This can run the range from body odor, bringing strong-smelling food to your cubicle, playing music too loudly, telling inappropriate jokes, or using your speaker-phone to make calls.”

Poor grammar

“When you hear someone using poor grammar, slang or profanity, it translates into believing that person to be uneducated,” says Peplow. Remind yourself that you’re not at home or speaking with friends at a social gathering. Be on point by always assuming your boss is in earshot.

Lone wolf syndrome

Have a habit of always wanting to do things on your own? That won’t work in the office. “While independence is good in some situations or when concentration is needed to get a project done, generally people who are team players experience more success at work,” Brooks says. “Team-playing involves a lot of positive behaviors including giving credit where it is due (that is, not taking credit for work which a colleague did), helping others when possible, doing tasks that aren’t necessarily in your job description, et cetera.” If you’re not seen as a team player, you won’t have the support of your colleagues when problems arise.

Temper tantrums

If you lose your temper, it is assumed that you cannot work well under pressure or handle responsibilities well, Peplow says. “Practice stress reduction techniques like mediation or deep breathing exercises, and never bring personal problems to work.”


Bad habits like disorganization, wasting time, and being too talkative can make you an extremely inefficient worker. “You may not realize it, but many of your co-workers are there to work, not socialize, and they may not want to be rude to you by breaking off from personal conversations,” Hoover says. You don’t want to become the person your colleagues avoid working with-so, keep the water cooler talk to a minimum, keep your desk organized and don’t spend too much time on nonwork- related tasks.

Speaking without thinking

If you’ve got ‘foot-in-mouth’ syndrome, you must control it in the workplace. Saying something inappropriate in a meeting or an e-mail can be detrimental to your career.

Lack of manners

“The most important things are what we learned when we were little,” Peplow says. When you ask for something, say ‘please.’ When someone gives you something, say ‘thank you.’ If you don’t know someone, introduce yourself. If you need to interrupt someone, say ‘excuse me.’ “Manners are important, so don’t be rude. And above all, if you don’t have something nice to say…don’t say anything at all,” she says.

These are just a few bad habits that can cause you to be fired, turned down for a job offer, or looked over for that promotion, Peplow says. “Take a look at yourself and ask others about your habits.” And if you do receive any feedback, take it seriously, Brooks adds. “Try to listen to the concern, and take some time to own it without defensively dismissing it.” “Much of this comes down to communication,” Hoover concludes. “We all have little annoying habits, and top-down communication is really key [in making employees aware of their bad habits]. From there, it’s up to the individual to correct them.”

5 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated


LAUNCHED | Christina DesMarais

Jun 11, 2013

5 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated

Step one – Be a good boss. Here are five things to start doing now.

Getty A moti vated employee is a valuable employee–and also among the toughest to find. According to a study conducted by Dale Carnegie Training, disengaged workers outnumber engaged workers by a pretty significant margin. Only 45 percent of managers and supervisors and 23 percent of people at other levels qualify as “engaged,” meaning they feel enthusiastic, empowered, inspired, and confident in their jobs.

The biggest influence on employee engagement is dissatisfaction with an immediate supervisor. People who have gripes with their bosses have an So percent chance of not being engaged at work, the study found.

Roxanne Peplow, a business owner and professional development instructor at Computer Systems Institute, a technical school with campuses in and around Chicago, says there are five key things you can do to be a great boss and hence, foster happy and productive employees.

1. Use your manners.

When people feel appreciated, they are happier, more productive workers. Saying “hello” to employees when you get to work as well as saying “please” and “thank you” are easy things to do but carry a lot of weight when it comes to making people feel valued. “When people of upper management or owners come in, employees can feel anxious

or slighted if not greeted properly or even at all. Approachability of management is a huge must for employees. It humanizes and endears them,” Peplow says. And in today’s digital and distracted world the most polite people know how to shut off their devices and pay attention to whomever they’re with, as Eliza Browning points out in her immensely popular story Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now. Or read how the CEO of one of the hottest recruiting companies in the gaming industry only hires folks who are humble, polite, respectful, magnetic, and coachable.

2. Give credit when it’s due.

Considering the hours your employees spend at work–often more than what they get with family–it’s essential to tell them when they’ve excelled on a project or gone above and beyond the call of duty. I can pull a perfect example of this from my own career history. Remember Y2K? I was on a small communications team that spent New Year’s Eve 1999 in a lockeddown IT department with a satellite phone at the ready. The CEO of the big company I worked for later sought me out in person to thank me and give me a letter of commendation as well as a check for $2,000–all of which made me feel appreciated, thankful for my job and motivated to continue doing good work. “It’s like catching people doing something good instead oflooking for the things to complain about,” Peplow says.

3. Encourage having fun on the job.

Work doesn’t have to be a four-letter word, Peplow says. She advises holding employee events that have nothing to do with work, but rather are geared solely on letting off steam, having fun and building team camaraderie. “It shows that you care about them and their well-being. It shows you appreciate the work that they do and not because you’re trying to do some company-focused event,”she says.

4. Communicate clearly , consistently , and often.

Communication is integral to any relationship, including those at work. Ideally, your employees will be crystal clear about what you expect from them and receive frequent feedback regarding how they’re doing in meeting goals, not to mention understand and buy into the company’s vision. “If an employee seems lost then you should ask them if they need help. A well-timed pep talk is also very well received, and often induces more open communication,”Peplow says. For more on this topic, read the Inc. guide How to Communicate With Employees, which suggests that while there are lots of ways to facilitate employee communication, it’s important that you are intentional about initiating conversations that are both informal and have a specific purpose as well as both oneon-one and held in a group. What helps is putting communication on the calendar, such as a stand-up meeting at the same time every day or an hour-long Q&A session held every quarter. You might also check out the San Francisco start-up 15Five. Its software acts as a communications backbone for companies by giving employees the opportunity to spend 15 minutes a week writing about their successes, challenges, ideas, and morale in a report that only takes a manager five minutes to read. ” If an employee writes something to a manager, and that gets passed on to an executive, and that gets passed to the CEO, and the CEO responds, then all four people are involved in that conversation,” 15Five CEO David Hassel recently explained in How Patagonia’s Roving CEO Stays in the Loop.

5. Offer fantastic benefits.

You can’t underestimate how important benefits are to employee contentment and retention, whether it’s health insurance, paid parking, free lunches, generous vacation policies, or a great 401(k) plan. That’s why companies in Silicon Valley-where finding and retaining genius talent is a big deal–go overboard giving employees all those things and much more. Companies like Google, Facebook, Evernote, Airbnb, and Zynga offer perks such as subsidized housekeeping, free haircuts, legal advice, travel assistance, and dry cleaning not to mention the option to bring your dog to work and even, in Google’s case, an employee death benefit through which a spouse or partner receives half the employee’s salary for 10 years after his or her death. The thing to remember is that generosity begets loyalty, which gets people wanting to earn their keep. And don’t forget about ongoing training; Peplow says it’s huge with workers.

“You want your staff to be on top of their games and if you invest in them then they’re going to keep their investment with you. If you keep providing them with training or certifications, something to keep them educated in their fields, then they know you care about their well-being. They’ll feel valued as a person and then they’ll be less likely to go someplace else,” she says.

Do You Need a College Degree?

Diversity Journal

May 31, 2013

By Christopher Bennett, Instructor, Computer Systems Institute

According to an October 2012 article in Money Magazine, the average class of 2011 college graduate owes $26,600 in student loan debt. This fact could lead some young, entrepreneurial minded individuals to question whether or not they could do better by investing $27,000 into a small business of their own. While many entrepreneurs, admittedly, could earn as much or more than they do working for themselves if they worked for someone else, the freedom and potential for personal success far outweighs the risks for some.

Even today, only about 40 percent of all American adults have earned a four-year degree. Since several of America’s most notable corporations are either headed or founded by high-school or college dropouts (Bill Gates, Harlan Sanders, David Green, David Oreck, Dustin Moskovitz, and George Eastman, to name a few), it has been proven that one need not have a degree in order to succeed in business. I thought I would share my shortlist of modern businesses young entrepreneurs might consider.

Three Businesses for the Entrepreneur without a Degree

Automotive Repair Shop

In order to start or open a car repair shop, one need not have a college degree. With automotive service rates varying from $60 to $90 per hour in some communities, along with a modest markup on parts installed, an auto repair business can generate enough cash flow to provide a lucrative paycheck and profits for the owners. The owner of the shop should have good knowledge of mechanics and perhaps have earned an ASE certification in at least one automotive mechanics discipline. Additionally, to run a service business well, good people skills are required too.

Computer Repair and Managed Services Company

Although computers have become rather disposable over the past few years, so have the staff IT personnel many businesses today. Often, organizations scrap their staff IT roles and outsource them to companies like HP. In a local community, there is often a market for contracted network and PC maintenance companies to support smaller businesses within the community. To start a managed services company, one might consider passing a vendor-neutral certification like CompTIA A+, Network+, or PDI+. Additionally, sales skills are important to building the relationships that will lead to winning contracts.


Easy Tips to Prevent Hacking & Identity Theft


Foolproof Your Password: Easy Tips to Prevent Hacking & Identity Theft

May 29, 2013

by Robert Howden Campus Manager Computer Systems Institute

Data security is something everyone deals with nearly every day at work and at home. With the amount of cyber-crime on the rise too many people are putting too little emphasis on their own security and the most basic way to ensure your personal information is secure is to use strong passwords. The trick is that an impossible to guess password is like a door to a home with 8 deadbolts on it, sure its a secure home, but it also takes keeping track of all those keys and opening each bolt one at a time. More security means less convenience. Follow these tips to help secure your online accounts, bank accounts, and email services without losing your head trying to remember a million passwords.

A different, strong password for each account you have is strongly recommended for maximum security. Use a free password database like Keepass ( http://keepass.info/) to generate random high security passwords and store them for you. Keepass stores your passwords in an encrypted file that can be accesses by one master key. Just be sure to never lose your master key and keep a backup of that file on a DVD or thumb drive locked away!