For what it's worth, IT is not what it is cracked up to be. It is one of those careers that looks better from the outside, looking in. Granted, my experience is jaded and I'm autistic so I don't function well in an office environment. Have you thought about a career driving an 18 wheel semi? The reason I ask is that many companies don't care if you're an ex-con and the money is VERY VERY good. After 13 years of being in IT, the most money I made is 75,000.00 a year and I worked 90+ hours per week plus on call time. I felt as if I was only noticed when things went wrong and I got absolutely sick and tired of dealing with people who think that computers should be perfect. Furthermore, I got sick of being penalized on performance reviews for not making improvement suggestions. Every time I made a good suggestion, the answer would be "let me look into that."
As a rookie truck driver, I'm earning 65,000 a year and my cubicle is an 80,000 lb semi with satellite radio, GPS, and a few other bells and whistles. I get quarterly fuel and safety bonuses and I can get pretty much routed wherever I want to go. Since it's cold and snowy up north, I've requested routes that take me through the desert southwest. If I could turn back time, I never would've gone to college - I would've gone straight into a tractor trailer training school. Also, contrary to popular belief, truck driving has challenging moments and there is almost rarely a dull day. :-D