David, Class of 2014
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David found a school where he could excel!
David is a Marine Corps Veteran who originally enlisted because he didn’t feel fulfilled living at home, not knowing what other options were best for him. He says that joining the Marine Corps was the best decision he ever made. He was deployed twice to Iraq and was the “artillery guy,” always the one up in the torrent with the big machine gun.
David was stationed in Hawaii and after the drawdown from the Operation Allied Force (OAF), the Military was offering incentives for those who wanted to end their enlistment. He then left the Military and stayed in Hawaii for about four years, but explained that he struggled to find work and transitioning to civilian life wasn’t easy.
“It was pretty bad. I’m an artillery guy. There’s not a lot of call in the civilian world for guys who blow stuff up, I mean that’s just the oddest part of it. It was really tough. I was in Hawaii, I didn’t know anybody, and I tried the school thing for a while, but it was just too much for me. Ya know this place it really helped me land on my feet and get settled and move on from there.”
David went to school originally to become a natural resources environmental management specialist, but his time there was short-lived. He added,
“Outside the military, personal stuff, you know it was a big shock transitioning out because one day you have everything, people telling you what to do. I had more orders and I just do these and I’m good to go. Next day it’s nothing. You’re left wondering, okay now what do I do? You know, no one tells you what to do and you’re kind of used to that for so long.” He added, “I went to college, but wasn’t mentally ready for that, so it didn’t’ work out too well. But it helped me learn other lessons in life.”
After about 4 years in Hawaii struggling to find his place, his mother-in-law eventually emailed him about Workshops for Warriors, and he moved straight to San Diego.
“This has actually helped me out a lot in life because if I wouldn’t have come to Workshops I wouldn’t have the job I have now and I wouldn’t have the career opportunities, and just the safety net of having a job that’s a good job security and good wages, so this place helped me out a lot. They gave me the skills I needed to move on and advance in my life.”
In addition to the opportunity to earn skills in welding and machining, David actually worked for Workshops for Warriors helping out with various odd jobs and projects while simultaneously taking classes. Eventually Workshops for Warriors “lent” him to a nearby manufacturing company because they were short workers, which is where David still works today.
“I was here for a little over a year doing classes and work combined. This place was almost instrumental [in connecting me with my current job]. I was working here and then they said ‘hey we need you to head over to [Reliance] and give them a hand for a little bit’ because they didn’t have enough guys. So they kind of loaned me over there and I ended up liking it a lot, and because they were short [on] guys, I ended up getting hired on over there full time.”
David currently works at Reliance Metalcenter in National City, CA. He explained that right now he’s operating a plasma-cutting device, so he uses a big plasma table and cuts out designs in the metal anywhere from 16-gauge to 2 1/2 inches thick.
“Workshops has given me a good starting base to go off of. I was stumbling a lot before I came here and just the staff and people and friends I made really helped me cement my feet and get a good solid foundation of what I can do with my life and kind of propel me.”
Despite trying to have a more successful transition, David explained that he is grateful for the path he had that led him to a career in advanced manufacturing.
“I tried to [plan an exit strategy]. It didn’t really work out as I planned because you can’t really plan for life. I thought it was going to work out a lot better than it did. I wanted to go to school and do this and that, but classes were a lot harder than I thought they’d be, and personal life, and where I was living, just the whole situation wasn’t really conducive to that.” He added,
“My future is a lot brighter than it was honestly. It was pretty tough before I came here, but now I have options and direction.”
David received the following Nationally recognized portable and stackable credentials:
- 3-Axis CNC Milling Machine Setup
- 3-Axis CNC Milling Machine Programming
- CNC Lathe Setup
- CNC Lathe Programming
- Mill Design and Toolpaths X7
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding Basic (SMAWB) Vertical
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding Basic (SMAWB) Overhead
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Short Arc Vertical
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Short Arc Overhead
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Spray Arc Horizontal
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Basic (GTAWB) 10 Gauge Steel Sheet Vertical
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Basic (GTAWB) 10 Gauge Steel Sheet Horizontal
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Basic (GTAWB) 10 Gauge Steel Sheet Overhead
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Basic (GTAWB) 18 Gauge Steel Sheet Vertical
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Basic (GTAWB) 18 Gauge Steel Sheet Horizontal
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Basic (GTAWB) 18 Gauge Steel Sheet Overhead
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Intermediate (GTAWI) 18 Gauge Stainless Sheet Overhead
- Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) Vertical
- Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) Overhead