Two years out of high school, I wanted to learn a trade, but didn’t know which one. I had no prior experience in the trades; I’m not mechanically inclined. I just knew that trades are a great way to go; training is quicker and less expensive than going to college. Most important, I wanted to be able to support my family.
On the school’s website, the Building Trades program looked almost too good to be true. When I saw everyone in the shop, working and learning, I knew this was what I wanted to do. The program would expose me to several different trades so that I could learn a little about a lot, and from that choose what I wanted to do.
I have so much respect for them. They teach to all different learning styles, which really sets them apart from teachers I’ve had in the past. I’m more of a visual, than a hands-on, learner. I need to see something done before I can actually do it. All three of my instructors, Dylan, Jake and Don, demonstrated step-by-step how to do things—frame a doorway and window, install a sink, finish and trim the interior. I could picture what to do, down to the details of how it should look when it was done.
Using hand and power tools—and almost everything else—was new to me. I was driven to make these new skills part of my lifestyle. I saw a vast improvement in my abilities when we learned electrical—that’s where I excelled. The visual aids of the wiring schematics made sense to me. The different colors of the wires, and where and what they connect to, made it easy for me to do the actual wiring. Dylan nominated me to be a captain for the electrical work on the house module we built. My team worked well together, and did a good job.
I’m honing all the skills that I learned at MTTI–carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and some HVAC to maintain boilers. I change light fixtures, fix appliances, patch drywall and paint. I get work orders on an app on my phone, when a resident calls the office asking to have something repaired. The app shows what time they want me there, and if I have permission to enter their apartment. I also do “make ready” work. After a tenant moves out of an apartment, I make sure everything is working, and that the apartment looks clean and fresh for the next tenant.
Property Maintenance workers communicate not only with their supervisors and co-workers, but with the residents—especially because we go into tenants’ homes to provide service. Thankfully my parents taught me to be polite and respectful when speaking with others. MTTI’s program stressed work maturity skills that helped me further refine my professionalism.
My instructors, Don and Dylan were a huge help. Pretty much my entire class got along very well. As we became familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we were able to support one another. I thank my parents, who “nailed” the determination to succeed into my head; they helped me develop strength to overcome challenges and solve problems. I thank my wife for her phenomenal support. Finally, my almost-three-year-old daughter, is, above all else, the reason I get up and work hard every day.
Learning so many skills for multiple trades, improvising and solving problems on the fly, and being able to fix things is very gratifying. You get to look at your work and say, “Wow, I did that.” It’s a good feeling.
We’re doing a lot better financially. We don’t yet own a house, but we’re planning to buy one within the next five years. My goal is to continue working for the real estate company, and to buy, renovate and maintain properties on my own. I’m also thinking about attending MTTI’s evening HVAC/R or Electrical program to continue building my skills. I appreciate having work that I like to do at Picerne, steady income and job security. That was the main reason I came to MTTI—to provide a better life for my family.
Spotlight Photo: Jonathan on the job (courtesy of Picerne)
Top Left: Jonathan with his wife and daughter
Bottom Right: Jonathan with classmates in the arch they built in the house module