Friday, October 21, 2011

Inspiring Success Story: Jason Holland

“I tell people thinking about school that it can be easy, when you’re focused,” ~ Jason Holland, newly employed Machine Trades graduate.

Jason Holland
Jason Holland was still finishing his LCC degree in Machine Shop when he started working at Waite Specialty Machine in Longview.

Jason was part of the wave of Manufacturing Occupations students who received American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding to pay for their first year at LCC. Out of 19 in their group, 10 earned their one-year certificates and two more left in their last quarter because they got jobs.

Jason went on to get his Associate in Applied Arts degree in Machine Shop, along with his high school diploma. In addition, he overcame another challenge: chemical abuse.

“I’m three years clean. My treatment counselor advised me to go to school. I took his advice and it really worked out.” Thanks to treatment, he had “a whole new train of thought” that boosted him through school.

LCC Machine Shop instructor Kam Todd not only taught Jason his new skills, but helped him find a job. Waite Specialty Machine had approached Kam right after Commencement looking for a recommendation. Todd knew Jason needed a job (Jason and his fiancee have eight children between them) and recommended him. Todd also kept in touch with Jason’s boss at Waite while Jason earned credit for his work experience.

Kam is often contacted by employers looking for good workers, and freely refers his graduates.

“My Manufacturing Occupations and Process Manufacturing students are getting jobs too. There are jobs out there, but employers want people with skills,” Kam explains.

Jason Holland and Jim Peters, his supervisor at Waite
Jason enjoys his work in the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine shop at Waite.I'm learning a lot every day,” he says.

“Waite has hired a number of people out of LCC, says Jim Peters, CNC Department Supervisor at Waite.

In fact, Jim is an LCC grad himself. “I was one of the first CNC students,” he explains. He has LCC degrees in Machine Shop and Automotive Technology, and also studied Diesel Technology before joining Waite. He even watched his Machine Shop instructor write the grant to buy the first CNC equipment.

“LCC instructors work hard at keeping the programs and equipment current.” Jim says.

Regarding the local job market, Jim says, "We’ve weathered pretty well at Waite. We’re diversified through different industries. It’s starting to pick up!”

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