Vlad grew up in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. After finishing high school and working a few odd-ball jobs, he felt lost and wanted to focus on a steady career path. He was looking into options when his mother told him to consider learning a trade.
Original post at jane-addams.org.
Since Vlad didn’t have a source of income, Jane Addams Resource Corporation was able to provide him with free classes, along with an EVC card and a bus pass to get to and from training.
Vlad’s mother knew of the Jane Addams Resource Corporation because she had taken English classes there, as Vlad’s family hails from Honduras. Vlad met program staff and learned about the CNC program. Although he didn’t have any machining knowledge and struggled with geometry, he credits the instructors with helping him to overcome obstacles and learn everything he needed to write programs and become certified. While taking welding classes, Vlad impressed his instructors and became the shift lead. In this role, he was able to learn how to manage new trainees and follow all of the proper safety protocols. It was around this time that Vlad decided to apply for a machinist position at Freedman Seating Company, a manufacturer on Chicago’s west side building seats and safety equipment for public transit.
“JARC prepped me for the interview and helped me learn how to ask the right questions and answer questions. They prepped my resume, my cover letter, and prepped me for everything for about a day or two,” said Vlad. “Once I got to Freedman, they asked me some questions about machining, took me around the plant and I was literally hired that day and have been there ever since.” Vlad expects to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his hiring this year.
Vlad originally started as a machinist working on Maytech machines, but due to his eagerness to diversify his skills, he quickly moved up in the ranks. He now works in a leadership role as a manufacturing technician in the engineering department. “I have to give credit to my company, Freedman. They always took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to learn new things.” Before landing in this role, Vlad used his time to learn new skills, including the press brake, robotic welding, and laser machine operating, all while training new hires.
When discussing the greatest lesson he learned at JARC, Vlad mentioned how much he appreciated the emphasis that JARC put on punctuality. “They made sure you really couldn’t miss any days.” It’s these kinds of lessons that have contributed to Vlad’s success at Freedman. “They’re offering you something that can later help you in life to eventually make a better living for yourself and who doesn’t want to do that?”
To anyone considering JARC, Vlad highly suggests considering the program as it helped him to find a new passion and achieve his career goals. “Why not go and learn something new? Later down the line it may be beneficial to you. It’s all about just getting in there and taking the chance and taking the opportunity and there’s not a lot of programs that can offer you that.”
With his financial independence, Vlad has become a homeowner and is able to provide his children the with the education he dreamed of. He hopes to return to school as well to earn a Bachelor’s degree, and also to start his own small business in his free time.