From Trailer Park to App Development – NPower Michigan success story from alum Dezmond Blair

From Trailer Park to App Development | NPower Michigan Alum Dezmond Blair | Detroit Free Press

Carol Cain of the Detroit Free Press interviewed Dezmond Blair, Fall 2022 alum from NPower Michigan, about his journey from growing up in a trailer park and getting his first computer at age 12 by building it from spare parts to graduating from the Tech Fundamentals program at age 21 and getting into the Apple Developer Academy.

Growing up was definitely not easy as both his parents had him very young as high school dropouts. They both worked very hard to raise Dezmond and his brother, but they bounced around a few mobile home parks along the way.

““I struggled with my own identity a long time. I never really knew what I’d like to do growing up and even teachers told me to ‘be realistic’ when I talked about my future.”

He knew he wanted to pursue a degree, but he couldn’t afford his bachelor’s. So after getting an associate’s in computer programming, Dezmond found NPower to supplement his training. Through the Tech Fundamentals program, he not only completed 3 CompTIA Certifications, but he also completed Google Project Management Certificate and practiced app coding. In fact, one of the projects Dezmond had developed is an app that helps Alzheimer’s patients remember their families by mimicking TikTok’s scrolling UI and pairing pictures and videos of loved ones with names and music that can trigger memories. So naturally, his next step was entering the Apple Developer Academy and a month-long iOS bootcamp so he can further develop his burgeoning portfolio of work.

“What I love about NPower is that it’s great for connecting with others. NPower is the only reason that I got into the Apple Developer Academy, especially as the recruiter was also an NPower alum! I’m looking forward to hopefully working at Apple as I go through the academy and bootcamp.”

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NPower Receives Second Grant From the NBA Foundation: How the partnership is changing the lives of Black young adults

The NBA Foundation deepened its commitment to NPower earlier this month, with continued investment in efforts that drive economic opportunities and upward career mobility for the Black community.  The latest round of funding released by the NBA Foundation coincided with Black History Month, and further highlights its partnership with NPower that fuels the launch of promising tech careers and pathways to prosperity for Black young adults. 

In 2021, the NBA Foundation generously awarded NPower an inaugural grant in support of enrolling, training and increasing the number of Black young adults in technology careers, with emphasis on the NPower regions in NBA markets. That commitment paid off for so many NPower graduates who not only obtained the valuable training needed to begin a new career in tech but also helped them reach new levels of success they never thought possible before the program.  Because of NPower’s recent expansion efforts and the NBA’s commitment to serving high-priority markets, the renewal includes the cities of Baltimore, Detroit, Brooklyn, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

Brandon Fullwood is a recent NPower graduate of the Tech Fundamentals program in Michigan and understands the power of investing in NPower and graduates like him.  The husband and father needed to find a career to support his growing family.  Brandon had an interest in IT and was referred by his cousin, an NPower alumnus.  When considering the program, he and his wife decided it would be best to quit his job and take on the role of a stay-at-home dad while completing his NPower training. It was a short-term sacrifice he says was worth it ten times over.  After graduation, he landed an apprenticeship at an automotive technology company, Aptiv, and is now expanding into cybersecurity for the tech company.

Brandon Fullwood

“My time at NPower was a life changing experience,” said Brandon.  “If you give your all to this program, then there is no way they will let you fail but you have to take that step.”


Another NPower graduate who knows what it means to take that step is Joberto Casseus.  Before NPower, Joberto was employed as a security guard at a school and attending community college full-time.  While working as an intern on an IT help desk, he learned about the NPower Tech Fundamentals program in New Jersey.  His time at NPower helped him sharpen his skills and transition into tech.  Following graduation, he took a position as a technical sales representative at tech start up, Exteros.  

Joberto Casseus

“My experience at NPower was amazing,” Joberto said. “From my instructors to the professional development team and my job placement coach. I can tell that the NPower staff is intentional about everything they do, including how we are taught and the mindset they want us to have going into our professional roles.”


The continued funding opportunity from NBA Foundation allows NPower to expand efforts to support Black young adults looking to start careers in tech that ultimately lead to the end of generational poverty in the communities it serves.  It’s also giving graduates like Brandon and Joberto access to career opportunities they never thought possible, and further solidifies all that the NBA Foundation partnership with NPower is doing to create pathways to family sustaining jobs for Black young adults. 

I am now in the corporate world which is somewhere a person like me never thought could obtain without a degree,” said Brandon. “I live more comfortably and spend more time with my wife and kids.”