Matt Trudeau graduated from MTTI’s first HVAC/R class in 2012-13. Matt has returned to MTTI to teach part-time in the evenings, while he continues to work in the HVAC Industry during the day. “The HVAC/R course was amazing—it grabbed my attention on day one and I never lost interest. The hands-on experience you gain is immeasurable. I no longer have just a job—I have a career. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
When he moved back to Massachusetts, he knew he wanted to make a change. “I was working part-time in Massachusetts, but knew I wanted to work strictly in HVAC. My finance (now wife) saw the billboard for MTTI’s new HVAC/R Technician program. I said noncommittally ‘that sounds interesting’. I might have procrastinated about starting school, but I’m glad I didn’t.”
“I met with the person who was developing the HVAC/R curriculum for the first class. When he heard what I had been doing as a property maintenance technician, he directed me to the Building & Property Trades program! Building Trades is a great course, but during the first week in the program I recognized that I would be learning the work I had already been doing.
“You don’t just meet the staff at MTTI; you get to know them. Instructors and staff make you feel part of a team. We needed that team spirit when we lost our Instructor. Rob passed away unexpectedly on a snowy day in February. We all liked Rob; it was traumatic—a real loss. Pat Church, the Lead Building Trades Instructor, stepped right in and taught us oil. The new HVAC/R Instructor, Roland took over the class. Everyone at MTTI made sure we had as smooth a transition as possible to complete the course.”
After graduating high school, Craig worked in the central plant facilities of a mall. “I wasn’t trained in HVAC. I just did basic maintenance—changing air filters and belts; I got some exposure to chillers and boilers. I recognized that the job would be dead-end; I needed a career.”
“Fortunately, I had the opportunity to work with some tradesmen. I’m thankful that at 18 or 19, I worked with a guy licensed in HVAC. What I learned from him challenged and interested me—and ultimately encouraged me to pursue HVAC training. I wanted to better myself, but couldn’t quit my day job. It took me 2 years to complete the program. It was hard to work days and go to school at night—but I’m glad I did it. It has paid off.”
“The small amount of commercial work they did gave me a taste for it. Since moving on from that job, I have done all commercial work—I’ve never looked back. Each company I’ve worked with has given me a new appreciation of the trade. I gained commercial/industrial experience as a Critical Facilities Technician, where I was responsible for overall performance of energy management, generators, HVAC equipment and cooling towers—everything there needed to be running in tip-top shape. At another company, I worked for a family business that had started in pneumatic controls and was building into A/C, Heating and Refrigeration.”
"I’m in the field—doing the same work they will be doing. I talk to them about my day. I let them know what it is really like to work in the industry. I tell them that travel may be a part of it. You don’t ‘read experience’ in a book. If I can give them what I’ve learned from my own experience, my hope is they will go out using their brains and make a good living.”
“Unlike students at MTTI, that benefit wasn’t available for me; I looked for a job on my own. My training gave me some confidence that I could break into the industry. Morris Mechanical in Clinton, Massachusetts gave me a chance. I loved working there, but left to apprentice with a Union company that approached me—they offered more pay. I stayed with the Union for 10 years. Many days I regretted leaving Morris. I’ve learned that job satisfaction is not always about the money.”
“After I left the union job, I spent a short time in controls. It wasn’t a great fit. Morris called me just to see how I was doing. I had chiller experience, and they do that work. They offered me the opportunity to come back; I accepted a position as a Lead Technician. Morris has young apprentices that need training; I have the experience to teach them. Morris is like family; I couldn’t ask for better people to work with or a better company to work for."
“I appreciated the guys who had first mentored me when I was new to the industry—that gave me an interest in teaching. That’s what you hope happens—you get a good foundation in school and then, on the job, industry veterans will share what they know; they will pass the torch to you. I wanted to pass on the information and knowledge to students at MTTI, just as those guys had done for me.”
"The first couple of nights, as a new Instructor in MTTI’s shop, some students were struggling with circuits. I explained how they work, and saw the ‘light go on’ in their heads. I enjoy that. I’ve been surprised to see how many students get picked up by HVAC/R employers and start working in the industry while still in the evening program. There is a high demand for qualified Techs in the industry. Good workers are hard to find; employers are willing to invest in training the good ones.”
“I get excited about coming to school to teach in the evening, even though I do this work all day long. Working in the HVACR industry doesn’t mean you have to be just one thing—a service technician or an installer. You can work at both. Or you can work with electronic equipment, programming and wiring controls as a control technician. Another option is to work in sheet metal, creating products for heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. Try out different positions—if one doesn’t work, you can work at another.”
Left to right above: Habner Ramirez, Josh Thibault, Jeremy Cordeiro, Richard Ramirez, Cristian Martinez, Jeremy Ellis (SCI Project Manager), Shawn Colouro, Matt Laires, Jared Simao
Sherry Ledsworth, Marketing Manager for SCI says, “We specialize in all things HVAC. From air conditioning and refrigeration, to furnaces and boilers; we service homes and businesses. We currently employ 8 apprentices, who are working hard to become successful licensed HVAC technicians. Their desire to achieve success and reach personal goals does not go unnoticed."
“As Program Advisory Committee members, we’ve had input into the creation and updating of the curriculum. We’ve offered suggestions about the classroom and shop, and the library resources. We've also donated some equipment for the students to practice on. Having a relationship with a reputable trade school has been a great asset for us.”
At SCI our mission is to provide world class service and true satisfaction to all customers and employees. We hope to bring outstanding value to the residential and commercial HVAC industry, while cultivating a positive work atmosphere. After working with several MTTI graduates, and meeting the staff at the school, I recognize that we are reading from the same script. MTTI and SCI both desire to make a positive impact on the world around us. We believe by working together, our organizations can help MTTI students and graduates accomplish great things.”
“Instructors at MTTI deliver the curriculum to students’ learning needs and abilities. As someone who gets to work with those students in the field, I truly see the value in a wide-ranging curriculum. The HVAC/R field is diverse. Even if you don’t master one aspect in this field, there are many different and exciting career paths you can take. You can work either in installation or service—or in both—in residential air conditioning and heating, commercial air conditioning and heating, and Industrial and commercial refrigeration.”
“With the HVAC industry being so diverse it is extremely important that these students and apprentices get a hands-on exposure in the classroom and in the field. I believe that is a big part of why we chose to work with MTTI. Their classroom environment, instructors and training are what we are looking for to add to our highly qualified and knowledgeable team!"
“With night classes held after normal business hours, students can work in the field and go to class simultaneously. I believe that when students can put the skills learned in the classroom into practical situations right away, they are more likely to retain the knowledge long-term. As things learned in school become more relevant to their job, the operations become easier to remember. That is just one of the many ways that this school is structured to consistently produce highly effective HVAC technicians."
“MTTI has helped me get a great job with Superior Comfort. I’m getting a great experience with a great team. I look forward to coming to work and enjoy learning something new every day. There is a lot of room for growth in HVAC/R. Go for it—I’m sure you won’t regret it.”
Habner Ramirez, 2019 Graduate; Apprentice
“MTTI helped me find a career. I made friends and family for life, and have knowledge that will always be with me. Going to school at MTTI helped me get back on my feet during tough times. MTTI has given me a trade and job forever. Excellent school, excellent choice; well worth going to.”
Joshua Thibeault, 2019 Graduate, Apprentice
“I recommend MTTI if you like learning hands-on and don’t want to stay in school for a longer time to take extra (academic) classes. It has helped me learn a trade in 6 months and get a job straight out of school.”
Jeremy Cordeiro, 2019 Graduate; Service Tech Apprentice
“Great hands-on program and great instructors. MTTI helped me gain field skills and job security.”
Richard Ramirez, 2013 Graduate; Apprentice Service Technician
“It’s a great course that teaches you the knowledge required to complete your everyday work in the trade. It’s a great school with teachers who are interesting.”
Cristian Martinez, 2015 Graduate, Apprentice Pipefitter
“MTTI gave me a great foundation of the HVAC basics. When it came to getting a job and going to work, I felt I had a good understanding of what to do when installing and servicing HVAC equipment. It’s always good to get a head start in any field—MTTI helped me do that.”
Shawn Calouro, 2014 graduate, Apprentice Lead Installer
“I was unsure about what I wanted to do for a career. MTTI helped me by guiding me in the right direction. The school has given me the knowledge and tools I needed to begin working in HVAC/R. MTTI is a great place to start on the career path that interests you.”
Matthew Laires, 2018 Graduate; Apprentice Service Technician
“MTTI gave me a head start in learning the HVAC/R trade, which I knew nothing about when I began. MTTI gave me the knowledge and guidance to become credible and successful in the trade—and the confidence to start something new in life.”
Jared Simao, 2018 Graduate; Apprentice Installer
Photo (Taken December, 2018 at ESI): Michael Muratori, Service Manager at ESI with MTTI Graduates: Shawn Barbosa, Andrew Souza, Todd Venneman & John Barcelos
"We have 13 MTTI graduates working with us at ESI and 2 more will start after the holidays. MTTI has been a big part of our department being able to grow so quickly. We’ve been able to find talented individuals and train them to be skilled technicians who we are proud to have representing ESI. I’ve been a committee member for years and have been able to sit with other HVAC companies to review their curriculum and the tools they utilize. We provide feedback and MTTI listens and makes changes if needed. I work with other schools as well, however, there is no school like MTTI.”—Michael Muratori
ESI Service Manager
"MTTI helped me gain the fundamental knowledge needed to grow and thrive within the HVAC trade. Since graduation I’ve been employed by ESI as a Service Technician; the trade has been challenging but very rewarding and fulfilling.”—Shawn Barbosa
2015 MTTI HVAC/R Tech Graduate
"(At MTTI I) gained a strong foundation in the necessary basic knowledge to build on. I highly recommend MTTI.”—Andrew Souza
2018 MTTI HVAC/R Tech Graduate
"MTTI’s hands-on training in HVAC/R prepared me for a career change from corporate work to the trades. Today I’m proud to call myself a tradesman. If you are looking to make a career change you won’t receive any better training than at MTTI to prepare for it."—Todd Venneman
2016 MTTI HVAC/R Tech Graduate
“MTTI gave me the training I needed to get a job and start a career I love. (If you‘re considering going to MTTI) do it—you can’t go wrong."—John Barcelos
2017 MTTI HVAC/R Tech Graduate
“Shawn came to us well prepared; he had been taught the right things at school. During his interview, Shawn stood out; he was enthusiastic and ready to learn. He walked in the door, sat down in front of me—confident and already committed to making it in the car business.”
Brian Matthews, Service Manager, Herb Chambers Lexus
I was working at an oil change service spot while going to school. My boss there had encouraged me to shoot for a luxury dealership after graduation. He said: “That's where you make more money”.
As a child, I loved watching the race car movies. Sometime I’d watch my dad working on cars. After graduating in 2020 from Attleboro High School, I tried going to a community college. Locked down during the pandemic, we attended classes virtually from home. Learning online, not talking directly with teachers or my classmates, wasn’t working for me. I didn’t do well. I felt I was wasting my money.
I didn’t want to work at just any job or stay at home doing nothing. I wanted the same thing my family wanted for me—an education. If I enrolled in an automotive program, I’d at least be doing something I like. I texted a friend from high school who had gone to MTTI. He told me that he loved working at a dealership and encouraged me to contact Cheryl, MTTI’s automotive program Admissions Rep.
Cheryl said, “Oh, you like working on your own car? You can work on your car as part of the program and get a toolbox to use in the shop and during internship.” I’d have the opportunity to keep the tools when employed as an auto tech. I knew having a professional tool set would help me get hired.
He made the class a safe place to ask questions and always made sure that we understood each subject. Practicing the skills hands-on in the shop prepared me for working in the real world.
Completely new for me, I worried I wouldn’t be able to understand electrical diagnosis. Jameson promised me, “You're going to pass electrical”. Learning the electrical basics, being able to read wiring diagrams and to re-wire and solder, gave me confidence I would be able to learn how to work on electrical systems of luxury cars.
Lowering the suspension to make the car sit closer to the ground changes how it looks and can improve performance. A classmate and I did the fronts and the rears on two separate days. We learned how to measure and level the car. The first day when I put the coil covers on the lower suspension strut, I accidentally made it too low; it scraped the ground a little. Adjusting it the next day, we learned how to do it right—and we had so much fun!
I practiced aligning cars, even aligning my own car multiple times to get it just right. Jameson gave me a live job working on the frontend steering linkage of a 1995 Jeep Cherokee. At first, I was confused, because it has a very different steering linkage than my own car. When I took it apart and looked at the parts, I could see how everything would go back together. It's a lot like Lego pieces!
I applied to dealerships, including Lexus. The Service Manager at Lexus, Brian Matthews, called me. Even from my first interview with him, I could tell that he really cares about helping young people enter into the automotive industry.
It felt like a big step to go from school to work in such a big facility--the shop must have about 40 bays. I was nervous thinking I might be thrown in to do something I didn’t know how to do. But two foremen work with me every day, teaching me how to diagnose and fix things the right way on Lexus vehicles. They encourage me to figure things out on my own, so I develop confidence to step up to bigger jobs.
“We don’t just stick new technicians in the lube bay or have them do clean-up. We want to engage the right people and set them up for success. We expose them to the most complex issues we have. If they have the aptitude and willingness to work hard, we can help them become high-producing, flat-rate technicians in three years.”
At Herb Chambers Lexus, you deal with many electrical problems. Lexus vehicles have all kinds of cool sensors, like ‘lane assist’ and ‘parking assist’. You have to be able to read the wiring diagrams to understand them. They don't expect new technicians to understand everything about electrical cars--I will eventually go to school for Lexus. But I don’t feel blindsided when the Foremen are helping me with electrical issues—I have been prepared for that.
I'm very thankful that Brian and Eric, the Service Director, gave me the opportunity to work here. I love and enjoy working with all of the people at the dealership. I came with the mindset that not everyone was going to be helpful—that it would be ‘every person for themselves’. I was surprised at how everyone here works together. It's a very friendly environment.
Most cars are going to be electric or hybrid vehicles, so technicians will need to keep learning the electrical and electronics. If you're not scared to adapt to changes in the industry, then it will be a good career for you. For me, the financial rewards and enjoyment of working in the automotive industry are well worth it.
If you really enjoy working on cars, and you want to learn how to diagnose, repair and maintain them professionally, go to MTTI. You could work at a dealership, but you could also choose to work at small shops or performance shops. Be confident and follow your heart. If you are passionate about working in the automotive field, and willing to keep learning every day, you will be successful.
“With the support of management, and equally as important, the buy-in from Senior Technician and Foremen, I’ve been able to demonstrate the value of recruiting, training, coaching and developing technicians right out of school. Having an open line of communication with Shawn’s instructor, Jameson has been valuable to both of us. Having a good pipeline to schools like MTTI to bring in new techs and investing in developing them, is essential to building a strong workforce for the future.”
Top: Service Tech, Shawn, at work in the Herb Chambers Lexus shop
Top Left: Shawn at the tire machine.
Right: Shawn, being taught telematics by Service Manager, Brian.
Bottom Left: Brian Matthews, Service Manager with Shawn & his mentor, Foreman Patrick.
Believing that tradesmen don’t make a lot of money, I thought my only opportunity to get a good job was to go to a four-year college. I attended college right out of high school. With no idea of what I wanted to do, I enrolled in a biology course and spent a lot of money on books. By the third day of class, I knew I didn’t want to do this. I switched to a major in film; but before you can take courses in the subject you want to study, you have to take history, English and math. I didn’t see much purpose in taking classes in subjects I wasn’t interested in learning.
I had difficulty retaining medical information and fell behind. Finally, I passed the test that qualified me to work as an EMT. But after I began working, I found my role was less about saving lives and more about transporting people to their medical appointments.
I was interested in cars while growing up. I regretted that I hadn’t taken the automotive program in high school. When college wasn’t working out, I didn’t immediately look for a school with an auto program. I thought I would need prior experience to attend an automotive training program.
Nick, said, “You should look at the automotive program at MTTI.” Because he was having a good experience at the school, I checked out MTTI’s website. Reading about the Automotive Service Technician program, I realized I didn’t need to have prior knowledge or experience to attend.
He asked me what experience I had. I told him: ‘Not much. Some brakes and basic maintenance tasks.” Jameson responded, “That’s great! That’s more than most people have.” My grandpa and I talked it over and he agreed to help me financially. We created a contract; I would pay him back each month—interest free. My girlfriend encouraged me to go to school. While I had doubts about myself, she was confident I could do it. My dad has always been interested in cars, so he was happy I was choosing to train for a career in the automotive trade.
Watching students working on cars that were up on lifts, and using torches, I felt a little intimidated. But it didn’t scare me away. I was excited to see what, in only a few months, I would be doing. Once I began school, I recognized that most of my classmates were also beginners. I quickly connected with everyone in the class.
I can’t imagine getting to their level of knowledge. The instructors really want you to understand what they are teaching. They all share what they know—they can talk about cars all day. They all started out like me, attending a trade school. They’ve inspired me to learn all I can, so that someday I will achieve their level of knowledge.
I had difficulty visualizing electrical systems. But I recognized that knowing about electrical systems would help me get a foot in the door of the automotive industry. We covered electrical basics extensively, and did a lot of hands-on work, including drawing electrical diagrams. I know a million times more than I did before school. Working in the industry now, I want to continue learning even more.
A low point during the program was having to miss days every now and then because I live with Crohn’s disease. An inflammatory condition of the digestive tract, Crohn’s can be painful. If left untreated, it could become serious, or even life-threating. I am being treated with infusions, which are biologics that target specific areas of the body, compared with corticosteroids, which affect the whole body. The stress of working as an EMT had increased my problems from Crohn’s.
Attending MTTI’s automotive program wasn’t easy, but when you are really interested in what you are learning, you want to read the chapters and learn the skills. It isn’t the same stress as learning or working at what you don’t like doing.
I own a 2002 BMW; they are well made luxury cars. BMWs have a lot of features and look good—I don’t think there is a single BMW that is less than super attractive.
BMW dealerships typically hire people who have prior knowledge and experience—especially because they will be working on expensive luxury cars. I was the first MTTI student to interview with, and be considered for hire by BMW. They didn’t know much about MTTI’s Automotive Service Technician program, so during my interview, I explained what I was learning at school.
I began by doing very basic tasks—moving customers’ cars, changing oil and doing tire changes. As a new hire, they didn’t expect me to know everything. I have been working alongside the foreman, solely on BMW cars—but each car is different. In the classroom at school, I saw parts for many makes and models of cars, but at work, the parts and their locations in the vehicles are specific to BMWs.
They are stepping me through the process, giving me more difficult tasks as we go. From oil changes, brake jobs and tire repairs, I’ve moved on to valve cover gaskets and oils pans. I’ve replaced suspension components. I am doing full MPIs (Multi Point Inspections) by myself. Recently, I’ve begun handling engine diagnosis orders.
At school you learn a lot of things you wouldn’t know, even if you worked on cars for yourself. The fundamentals I learned in the auto tech program make it easier to understand what technicians at BMW are explaining to me. For example, when the foreman I work with explained the specifics of how a BMW cooling system works, I could understand this new information because I had learned the basics at school.
I told him, 'It’s a really good school. Anyone can attend without having any prior program-related knowledge or experience. In my perception, I had more hands-on training at MTTI than I would have had at other schools—some of which offered two-year degrees. And it’s really affordable.’
My wish came true. I am confident I will have a long career in the automotive industry. Most of BMW’s models are hybrid or fully electric. As the automotive industry goes electric, I’m not worried about being put out of my career. The new technology will just change some of the information and skills I need to know for maintenance and repair.
Especially considering how hard I struggled at college and in the EMT Program, I’m amazed by how well I’m doing now. MTTI was my first positive post-high school experience. I know I will be successful in this career because I am finally doing something I enjoy. I look forward to going to BMW school in New Hampshire. Once I go there, I will slowly transition to flat rate pay, which will give me the opportunity to earn a lot more money. Automotive technology is a profession for which you need to continually build upon your basic knowledge. I expect to keep learning.
Left: Ben in MTTI's automotive shop.
Bottom: Ben with his classmates and Instructor, Jameson Infantino.
My dad works in the medical field, so it was natural for me to consider working in medicine. My parents are in their sixties and my dad is still working to support the family. My parents have taken care of me; in the future, I want to be able take care of them. I needed to think beyond just having a job, to being in a career that offers benefits and a retirement plan. I just didn’t know exactly what type of medical work I wanted to do.
While at home during COVID-19, I watched online videos of Dr. Sandra Lee, MD—"Dr. Pimple Popper”. A board-certified dermatologist, skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic surgeon, I saw that she makes a real difference in peoples’ lives. I thought to myself, ‘I would be great at that.’ When I choose to do something, I put my all into it. I was ready to commit to going to school, and to train for a medical career.
I first heard about MTTI from a co-worker where I waitressed. She had a friend who had attended the school. After talking with her at work, I went home that night and found the MTTI site. I also read online reviews about the school, which confirmed for me that MTTI is a good school. I researched other schools too, but the stories on the website are what made me come here.
This was big for me, because a lot of schools aren’t like that. I had a phone interview with the Medical Assistant Department Head, Ms. Courtney. I could relate to her. She was like the mature version of me—very family-oriented and super organized. Nervous the first day of school, it felt like I was going back to high school. But attending MTTI had much more meaning to me than high school; at 23 years old, I knew what I wanted to do.
Going to school full time while working weekends, I had no days off. Throughout the program, if I had a rough day, I would tell myself, ‘I’m sticking this out’. I knew that I could do it. You have to work hard for what you want—and I worked very hard. Getting good grades gave me a sense of accomplishment. Ms. Courtney was very encouraging—she wants her students to do well.
When I was researching schools, I wasn’t aware of how much Medical Assistants do for healthcare practices. During internship at an urgent care, I needed to use all of the skills I learned in school. It helped that during the program, I completed the 50 live venipuncture sticks and 25 capillary punctures; I got lots of practice and earned an additional phlebotomy certificate. At the urgent care, I drew blood, performed EKGs and did many diagnostic procedures, including rapid strep, pregnancy tests, and COVID swabs. I conducted eye exams and gave injections. I’ve been surprised to find that a lot of Medical Assistants who had attended other schools had not had hands-on practice in all of these skills.
Although I had a good experience at the urgent care, I thought I should consider all of my opportunities. After completing the Medical Assistant program, I took a short, well-deserved break. Shawn, the Career Services Specialist, agreed that I shouldn’t have to settle. He continued to email different job openings to me. Because I am very loyal, I knew that when I accepted a Medical Assistant position, I would want to be there to support that practice for a long time.
When I first contacted Dermatology Professionals, the person I spoke with on the phone was so nice; she told me all about the company. Walking into the practice for my interview, I felt comfortable right away. I knew I had found the right place. It’s also close to home, offers good benefits—and it feels like a family. They have regular get-togethers for staff. My first week there, they had a party for the Medical Assistants. This year they gave awards to Medical Assistants who have been working there a long time. Recently they held a fundraiser for one of their practitioners who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
I update the patient’s medical history, document information about medications they are taking, ask about any allergies they have, and record why they are being seen that day. Then I perform either a spot check or full skin examination. Using an iPad, I photograph moles and suspicious growths that might indicate skin cancer. If the patient has had a recent surgical procedure, I will remove sutures. By finding out what is going on for the patient, I can narrow down what the provider needs to do.
I enter information into the computer, as the provider visually evaluates each growth she examines. I have to be very accurate in matching her comments about each mole or growth to the photos I’ve taken. The Provider then either rules out, or orders biopsies to be sent to the lab. A lot of skin cancers are easier to remove if detected early. The practice has doctors who are trained to perform Mohs surgical procedures that will remove cancerous or precancerous growths.
They want you to understand dermatologic conditions and procedures. I appreciate that I am able to see everything and also assist in the examinations, removal of tissue for biopsies and with in-office surgical procedures. I’m learning so much about skin—and even hair—care. We cover not only medical skin conditions, like acne, psoriasis, eczema and rashes, but also the cosmetic side of skins care. I enjoy learning about Botox and skin rejuvenation techniques. I also help the providers educate patients about sunscreen and vitamins that help prevent cancer.
We see people of all ages—pediatric as well as adult patients. Patients are similar to those at the urgent care where I worked—just the type of cases are different, because we are a specialty practice. I’ve had a lot of experience talking with people while working as a waitress, which helps me communicate well with patients. Someday I hope to become a nurse practitioner (NP). Working alongside the practitioners at Dermatology Professionals, I am seeing exactly what I will be able to do as I continue to learn new skills and further my education.
The medical practices I contacted when I was looking for an internship and a paid position all knew MTTI and liked the school. That made me feel confident I would do well once I was working as a Medical Assistant. Dermatology Professionals knows that MTTI’s students have been trained to be professional, as well as to have the skills needed for practice. They asked me to tell Shawn that they will be happy to shadow and intern more MTTI students.
She became like a big sister or even a mom. She stressed that our primary purpose as Medical Assistants is to be there for the patients and providers. Even now, while I am at work, I can hear her voice in my head, reminding me to ask patients and providers: “What can I do for you today?”
As a professional Medical Assistant, I feel that I’ve fully become an adult. I am making a good living, doing what I love to do—helping people. Because I feel confident in my abilities as a Medical Assistant, I am ready to take on whatever comes next.
Where I live in South County, RI, there aren’t any Medical Assistant programs in the immediate area. It’s an easy commute to MTTI. I’ve been excited to share photos from MTTI’s Facebook to my personal page, so that others can see what we do in school. I tell everyone about all of the amazing skills you learn in the Medical Assistant program. Having these skills definitely gave me an advantage in getting hired.
The instructors, Career Services and all of the Staff at MTTI are amazing people. Enrolled in the Medical Assistant program at MTTI, I felt—and as a graduate continue to feel—part of their family. Everyone at MTTI will do more than just assist you in finding a job; they will help you find your ‘forever’ career.
Spotlight photo of Kassandra with her classmates in front of MTTI's main building in Seekonk, MA
Top left - Portrait of Kassandra taken while a student at MTTI
Right Middle - Kassandra taking another MTTI student's blood pressure in the Medical Assistant lab
Left bottom - Kassandra at her graduation with Ms. Courtney, her instructor on the left and Shawn Barnes, Career Services Specialist, on the right
Brad openly shares his personal struggles in re-making his life after leaving the military. “I know that if I’ve been in this, someone else out there is in a similar situation. I’m telling my story so that someone with the same problems will take heart and have hope.”
Being in the military is about being part of a team. One day I was out, and the team wasn’t there anymore. It’s hard to maintain the brotherhood and camaraderie you had, when your friends are stationed all around the world.
I designed and repaired aircraft—even fabricating aircraft with metals, plastics, composites and bonded structural parts and components. Late in 2008, I was deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Before leaving the military, I attained the rank of Staff Sergeant.
I was taught to keep my head down and grind through bad times. I believed if I could make it through those tough times in the military, I could get through anything in life. But returning home after 8 years in the military, I wasn’t prepared to be back in civilian life.
My struggles with alcohol began while serving in the military. I tried to quit drinking, but during 2013, I wound up drunk and in a Florida jail. I told myself, ‘I can’t keep doing this.’ After being Honorably Discharged, I moved from Florida to Idaho, to live with my wife and kids. Trying to work out my marriage, I quit drinking—I poured everything out. When I couldn’t make my marriage work, I moved back home to Massachusetts, where I had grown up. The only way to turn things around is to have a support system. Thankfully, with my family’s support, I am sober now.
I just didn’t know how to get a foot in the door. As a kid, I was interested in dirt bikes and motorcycles, but didn’t have the money for them. After I was discharged from the military, I tinkered with a four-wheeler and with dirt bikes. I applied to dealerships; without training or experience, they wouldn’t hire me.
I was unhappy working as a machinist in a production shop. The work was repetitive and I wasn’t given room to grow. I wanted new challenges—new problems to solve every day; I wanted to make a living working on bikes. I knew there were big schools in Florida and Arizona that offered training in motorcycle mechanics. Searching online, I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I found MTTI’s website. ‘No way! There is a school practically around the corner from where I live—and it accepts military benefits!’
I had finally decided to go back to school, and everything was shutting down! From March until August, I nervously waited to know whether the class would start during September. What an amazing feeling, when I got the go-ahead that the class would start on schedule. Later, whenever the Admissions Rep, Cheryl, toured prospective students through the shop, I would tell them, ‘Don’t even think about whether to come here—just do it.’
Coming to MTTI provided a good support system for me. I felt that sense of camaraderie I had been missing. If I wasn’t getting a subject, another student would say, “let’s figure it out together.” In the Motorcycle / Power Equipment program, we all have a common ground. We all like things that ‘go fast’.
What he will forget about bikes is more than I will ever be able to remember. Especially because I have a color vision deficiency, I would freeze up when reading wiring diagrams. Gary helped me gain confidence in reading them. He taught me tips that help me out now in the field—especially how not to get overwhelmed when tracking down multiple issues.
Gary would say, “let’s do this.” Early in the program, Gary worked with me one-on-one for 45 minutes, to help me better understand transmissions--then it clicked for me. He is not just a teacher going through the motions--he loves this stuff. It’s so much easier to wake up and come to class when your instructor likes what he is teaching and makes learning fun!
Not being able to test bikes out on the road made finding an internship challenging. Shops were interested in me, managers said they would call; but I then I wouldn’t hear from them. Gary told me he would love to have me at Bettencourt’s, where he has been working for more than 35 years. He said, “I can get you an internship, but it is up to you to apply yourself and get the job.”
I’m so happy that I took Gary up on his offer of internship. How can you beat working for Bettencourt’s? You get to work on bikes and then ride them at the end of the day. The people I work with here are awesome. I’m learning so much—both on the business and the mechanical side. Working alongside Gary after graduation has been like having an added semester at school.
This school really puts forth the effort to get you a job, doing something you enjoy. They go above and beyond in helping you make contact with employers. Erin, the Career Service Specialist was great. She helped me, one-on-one, write a resume and practice for interviews.
Most of the time, we were too busy working in the shop—and our hands were too greasy—to take pictures of our work. We were excited when the photos were posted; we’d say to one another, ‘Hey, I saw your picture on MTTI’s Facebook.’ Now we have photos documenting the work we did—and a reminder of our time together in the program.
I was never one for school—I didn’t do well in the past. I was super nervous to start jumping into something new, but everyone at MTTI made it easy. MTTI is a pretty great community—you can’t ask for more. Even if COVID threw a wrench into the program, what we did on Zoom was actually a cool experience. Once we were back in the shop, I loved coming to school every day to learn in such a hands-on class. We were encouraged to bring in our own projects to work on, provided they fit within the curriculum. I built a dirt bike while I was here—even put the motor in.
I only wish I had gone to school sooner. A month into school, my girlfriend, who I have been dating for 3 years, said, “This is the happiest I’ve seen you.” I put a lot of work into the program, but it has been a happy transition from going to school, to working at Bettencourt’s. Facing my personal struggles is finally paying off. You can’t run from your past mistakes. But you can find support from family and friends who care about you, and camaraderie with people who share your passions. You can make a very happy life.
Spotlight: Brad & Gary In Bettencourt's Service Shop
Top Left: Brad Test Riding the Bike He Worked On at Bettencourt's
Top Right: Brad On-The-Job at Bettencourt's
Lower Left: Gary & Brad On A Breal at Bettencourt's
Lower Right: Brad While Still A Student, Working on a Bile In MTTI's Shop
I knew I didn’t want to take on large loans to go to college. I wondered if I would do well in the trades. I also thought about a career in IT.
For about a month, I worked with my cousin’s partner, who owns an HVAC company. Knowing that I was good with computers, he connected me with his friend, whose IT company he services. Happy at first that I had good career, I realized three months into it that I can’t sit behind a desk all day. Staring at a screen for hours makes me antsy; I need to keep moving.
Working my way up to full-time manager, I found there was little hope for further advancement. Shaw’s is a unionized company; people in upper management hold their positions for a long time—30 or 40 years. After 4 years of working insane hours and jockeying for position, I decided my future wasn’t in retail. Thinking I might want to become a police officer, I started training while working second shift at Shaw’s.
Part of why I had been pursuing careers in everything but HVAC is the personal hurdle I faced. I have a color vision deficiency. I can distinguish red from green, but may not be able to tell blue from purple. I had to come to terms with what I wanted to do.
HVAC brings together everything I wanted in a career. Working at Shaw’s was ‘all brawn’; my short IT career was ‘all brain’. I wanted to work at something using my brain, while working with my hands. Was I going to hide behind my “color blindness” or give HVAC a try?
I went back to work with my cousin’s partner, who owns the HVAC company. I told him that I wasn’t ‘feeling myself out anymore’; this was the work I really wanted to do. Just to be sure, I assisted him on a few jobs. When he offered me a paid position, I gave Shaw’s notice. Coincidentally, I started working in HVAC on the same day in July 2019, on which I began training part-time in MTTI’s evening HVAC/R program.
I looked at other trade schools, but never heard anything positive from people who attended them. The HVAC/R class had already started when I met with Anya, the Admissions Representative. I was the last person to join the class during the drop-in period. I had missed most of electrical, so I had to make that up. Fortunately, I had learned a little in the field. I always ask a lot of questions, and when I’m taught something once, it sticks. With support from my instructors, I was able to catch up with the class.
HVAC apprentices need educational hours to apply for a Journeyman’s license. The owner of the HVAC company offered: “I can put you through a state school to get your hours.” There would have been no cost for me. I thanked him, but explained that I was completely new to HVAC. Working in retail and IT, I wasn’t coming into the trade from a hands-on background. And I didn’t want to sit in lectures in a state school classroom at night, after working all day. I preferred to learn hands-on in MTTI’s HVAC/R program.
I think that going to school at night, while working in the HVAC field during the day, is the best way to go. Going to school part-time takes a little longer. But what you see on the job during the day, you learn more about in class at night. One classmate and I began working in HVAC before starting school; most of the others were hired into HVAC/R positions even before the program completed.
Having taken a pay cut from being a manager at Shaw’s to apprentice in HVAC, it was in my best interest to make the move. I worked at Superior Comfort for over a year; it was a great learning experience. Superior Comfort provides cutting-edge residential HVAC service. I gained experience in diverse areas, including geothermal energy and mini-splits. Working alongside Jared who is a really good installer, he became my best friend.
During the summer of 2020 I went back to work with Adam. He’s the guy I originally worked with at Superior Comfort. Adam is the guy they call for any problem—but it was still doing installation. Working with Adam, taking into account the issues and the calls he faced, I recognized that service was the right career path for me. I wanted to troubleshoot—be the go-to-guy that knows how to solve problems. I wanted to use my brain.
My instructor, Matt, saw that Buckley Associates in Massachusetts was hiring. Matt had worked for Buckley Associates in the past; he let me know they were looking for a guy. “What they do might be right up your alley.” When I talked with the Lead Tech, Mike; it went well. He gave me the Service Manager’s number. A month later I was hired, just as I was completing the program at MTTI.
Buckley sells mostly high-end products to mechanical contractors. I am a factory representative for gas detection systems, such as those used to monitor carbon monoxide (CO) emissions in parking garages. I help companies get their systems up and running on behalf of the manufacturer, for example starting up a Greenheck dedicated outdoor air system. Greenheck is a leading supplier of air movement, air control and air conditioning equipment for commercial and industrial applications. Their equipment is installed in large facilities—hotels, where the lobby, meeting rooms and guest rooms need continuous fresh air circulation—and cancer research centers that need clean and efficient ventilation.
I’m there to ensure that the manufacturer’s products are installed and operating correctly. Companies require and need a start-up report from the factory representative. I also service components that need to be repaired. For example, if a motor that is under the factory warranty is bad, we have to fix it. Fixing factory equipment is different from a typical HVAC service call. The units we repair are so high tech that facilities in which they are installed need our specialized knowledge. More often than not, when troubleshooting and repairing the equipment, I need to think outside of the box.
I haven’t been the best student in the past. I thrived in MTTI’s hands-on program taught by experienced instructors. When I come across an issue now at work, I take the steps Matt taught me—especially knowing where to begin. If I hadn’t attended school at MTTI, I wouldn’t even know where to start.
I have no regrets. I learned HVAC fundamentals and got a good grounding in the basics. It would have taken 10X longer learning in the field, compared to going to school. I got the job opportunity at Superior Comfort because my MTTI instructor recommended me. Matt, my other instructor, referred me to Buckley Associates, where I now work. As a graduate, Matt has become my colleague and friend. I made a bunch of friends who were my classmates at MTTI—and met my best friend while working at Superior Comfort.
I love doing service and I’m good at it. I’m very happy working for Buckley Associates—and there is opportunity for growth within the company. After trying out careers in retail and IT—even starting training to become a police officer—I’ve found the right field for me. I can see myself doing this for a really long time.
Spotight photo: Nick with his new Buckley Associates truck
Top left photo: Nick & Instructor, Matt Trudeau
Bottom photo: Nick with classmates and Instructor, Matt, at their completion celebration (during COVID-19)
19 years old, Luis took a leap of faith when, on very short notice, he re-located from Kansas to Providence, RI, to start school in MTTI’s Building & Property Trades program. Arriving without having seen the school—and before he had his teacher interview—Luis enrolled. He successfully completed the program, landed a great job, and made Providence his new home.
I wanted more opportunities than I would have had, living in an area with only a few hundred people. Before coming to MTTI, I worked in Kentucky, for a construction subcontractor. I liked the work and gained experience in remodeling homes. I also did side jobs on my own. After that, I went back to Kansas to work a short while with an irrigation & landscape company. But I wanted to get back to construction.
My girlfriend and I met in Long Island, New York, where I completed my senior year in high school. We stayed in touch and saw each other whenever I visited my father, who is stationed in the military in NY. When she enrolled at Johnson and Wales University in Providence to study finance, my girlfriend sent me information about trade schools in the area. I was interested in MTTI’s Building & Property Trades Technician program because it is so diverse—I could gain skills in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and even learn some HVAC.
I was placed on a waiting list for classes starting during 2020. A week before the July class started, Amy, the Admissions Rep, called me. She told me that a spot had opened; she asked if I wanted to take it.
I hadn’t seen the school; only a screenshot of the Building Trades program information from the school website that my girlfriend had sent me. I hadn’t yet had a tour or an instructor interview—I just showed up. The first day of class I felt nervous and a little intimidated; I didn’t even know the names of my instructors.
The culture here is very different. People in Kansas, or in the rural area of Kentucky, where I had worked for a while, don’t venture far from home. When the pandemic was declared, no one there wore masks. Starting school at MTTI, we wore masks all day. It sometimes made working hands-on more difficult; but working in teams at school—or living in a more densely populated city—wearing masks made sense to help prevent the spread of COVID.
Later, Jake Guzman joined us; he was a good influence, motivating me to do good things with my life and accomplish my goals. Don helped me grow up and become more professional. Pat had tons of trade experience and stories; he was always willing to teach and I was always willing to learn. Even when we had to have some classes virtually on Zoom during the pandemic, they made me want to learn. Some teachers just give you a book; at MTTI the instructors really care about sharing their knowledge and experience with their students.
I came to school with a big head, believing that I knew a lot. During the first class, we were taught to read a tape measure. I already knew how to read a tape measure, so I was skeptical about whether I would learn anything new in the program. But OSHA Safety training and ladder safety training (who knew that you should have 3 rungs above the roofline?) or how to carry boards when climbing the ladder—was new information for me. Working in construction in Kentucky, we hadn’t learned much about safety.
I thought I knew all about carpentry and drywall, because I had worked in residential remodeling. Don taught me to work smarter, showing me the easiest way to do each job correctly. What my boss in Kentucky had shown me wasn’t technically wrong—there were just better ways to do things. For example, when trimming doors and windows, a quick way is to bend and nail the trim. Don showed us how to make individual strips for each side, and cut the ends so that they fit together. Don’s way looks 100% better than bending the trim—and keeps out water, plus insulates the door or window.
Don made sure we had all of the right tools and information to do any job, but he didn’t hold our hands. He didn’t tell us exactly how to make the tables. He showed us how to use the tools and the steps to follow. Then he left it open for us to design and construct them in our own style. Each table was different, but they all reflected our hard work in making them. For the first time, I felt real pride in my craftsmanship.
I had re-modeled houses, but didn’t have a good sense of how a house was constructed. Pat taught us how to frame the module. We put up the walls, then the siding, and finally the roof. We installed electrical panels, outlets and lights, then sinks and toilets. Each team designed and built an interior archway connecting the rooms, and custom finished a room with paint and wallpaper. It’s a lot of work, but it is amazing how quickly the work goes.
Erin, The Career Services Specialist for the program, helped me write a resume and search for a job. I am grateful to her for connecting me with Picerne Real Estate Group. On the date I was scheduled to begin internship, I was already hired and starting to work in a full-time Maintenance Technician position. My first day, they toured me through all of the properties—then handed me a lot of keys. I’d just finished classes at school—I hadn’t even officially graduated. I felt overwhelmed. I thought to myself, ‘Maybe I think I know more that I actually do.’ I had to take a moment to just breathe.
I use all of the skills I learned at school to repair the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems in the apartments. Even more important—Don taught us how to use our heads to think critically and solve problems. I’m confident in my abilities because we learned more than just how to do the work. We learned how to think about the best way to do each job.
At Picerne, I am part of a team. I have a good supervisor, who has shown me a lot; I am building on the skills I learned at school. Having a good boss makes me want to get up in the morning and go to work. Where I grew up in Kansas, people had pretty similar backgrounds. People living in the couple of hundred apartments managed by Picerne Real Estate Group in Rhode Island come from many different backgrounds. I enjoy talking each day with the residents, and hearing their stories.
At 19 years old, arriving in a new city, far from home and on my own, I wasn’t always sure I could make it work. In the beginning, I struggled to adapt to a culture very different from the small town in which I grew up. It wasn’t easy to support myself while attending school. But now I have a job I really like. I have a career with a good future and am making a decent wage. I have my own apartment and a new puppy. Even though making a new life has sometimes been uncomfortable, it has been well worth it.
I just know that I want to learn a lot. I’m moving forward in my life a lot more quickly than if I had remained in Kansas—or if I hadn’t gone to school. If you choose to attend the Building & Property Trades program, take advantage of the time you have here. It goes by really fast. There’s a lot of information--you have to be willing to pay attention and learn—but you can learn a lot in that short amount of time. The teachers at MTTI are great guides to help you prepare to work in a new trade and make a better life. The school and the instructors at MTTI really do set you up for success.
“BTS opened in 1939 as a one bay garage that serviced recaps and new tires. In 1989 we added a second location in Pawtucket, and changed our name to BTS Tire & Service. BTS is a full-service facility; we provide repair and maintenance for most makes and models of vehicles. As an independent shop, we’re able to work closely with new Technicians to help them continue learning and developing their skills on the job. We want to help Technicians advance quickly—especially as they demonstrate a good work ethic and the ability to complete repairs with minimal supervision. By promoting our Techs, customers receive better service, and the Techs make a better living.”
—Richard Carlone, Owner
“I love cooking for friends and family. As a career though, it is high stress, and the work conditions are not always the best. When I lost passion for cooking as a profession, I considered returning to college to finish a criminal justice degree. My mother found MTTI online and asked me, ‘What about a technical degree?’ I had no experience working on cars in a professional setting—but I love cars and enjoy working with my hands.”
“I’m not a big ‘people-person’, and was looking for a less customer facing career. My uncle told me about MTTI; he had graduated from the school’s Auto Tech evening program. I knew very little about cars, so I expected that the program would be difficult for me. Fortunately, the Instructors explained things well, which made learning easier.”
“When I was a little boy, living in my home country of Liberia, my dream was to be an Auto Mechanic. I played with a toy car and asked my daddy about the car he owned. I wanted to know how it worked—how it moved.”
“Growing up, 14 years of civil war in my country prevented me from going to school. When I was able to attend a vocational school in my mid-twenties, it was not easy to make up for the time I had lost. After graduating high school, I began working as an Auto Mechanic, performing general maintenance on brakes and doing oil changes. We are not advanced in automotive technology in Libera. We’re just beginning to regulate pollution from cars, so I did not have the opportunity to work on emissions systems.”
“I experienced a better quality of life here than in my country. I began looking for a technical school where I could improve my automotive skills. The program at MTTI was shorter than at other schools; I could complete the program in 6-7 months. My uncle’s advice was, ‘David, you already have the skills—you don’t need to go to school for 3 years.’ He accompanied me to an Open House. All of the people at MTTI were friendly. They asked me questions, and hearing my responses told me, 'You are in the right industry.’ They knew that the Auto Service Technician program would be a good fit for me.”
“MTTI was the school with the most hands-on—and where people brought cars in for real repairs. When I toured MTTI I was impressed with the instructor and the facility. Everything they had in the shop was very enticing. It was tough going to school full-time Monday through Friday, while working nights and on week-ends. Even so, I never had a problem coming to school, and maintained great attendance.
The Instructors, Rich, Glen and the Skills Instructor, Arturo kept things lively in the classroom and the shop. They were easy to talk with and relate to. I can’t count the number of times that Rich, Glen and Arturo helped me make repairs on my own car.”
“I remember that my fingers hurt all the time while I was in school. The program provided a nice transition into the automotive industry. I liked learning where all of the auto parts go and what they do. Like a Lego® set—all of the pieces have to be working together, otherwise the structure is incomplete and won’t function well.”
“Everyone in my class helped one another. We were all on the same page about learning. The small class size made it easy for Arturo and Rich to work with us one-on-one. I still have all of my notebooks from class that I continue to use as a reference.”
“My instructor, Glen, recognized from the first time we talked, that I knew something about cars. He appreciated my participation in class. I learned about technology that we didn’t have in my country: how to use scan tools, diagnose problems and work on emissions systems. I was happy to be in school, learning new things. Every year, new cars will come out, and I will enjoy continuing to learn new technology.”
“The school teaches you directly what you want to know. People without any automotive experience can come from school and go to work in the industry right away.”
Ongoing assistance to write their resumes and practice for interviews helped them navigate the job search process. They agreed that Erin, the Career Services Specialist, was always willing to help—calling and emailing them about job opportunities, and supporting their job search efforts.
Employers and industry specialists meet twice a year to review each program; they help MTTI keep the training current with changing technology and evolving hiring needs. Michael B recalls that, “During the part of the program when I was applying for jobs, my Instructor, Rich, attended the Auto Tech PAC meeting. One of the PAC members, Richard Carlone, was hiring Techs for BTS. My instructor had always heard good things from past MTTI students who interned at, and were hired by, the company. I applied to the Providence store and was directed to the Pawtucket store for internship.”
“There is so much more to learn. Once I started working, I very quickly realized I had a good foundation and skill set to help me continue learning on the job. I was surprised that, on the first week at work, I was given bigger jobs than I had expected. Thinking I would probably be doing oil changes and tires for a while, the first week, I was excited to be asked to work on brakes. Next I worked on a whole rear end of a Prius.”
“I was working at a full-time job while interning five days a week. Now working at BTS, the workday goes by fast, because we always have something to do. I’m able to go to David, who has more experience than I do, when I have a question. I’ve learned it is better to get help when you aren’t sure how to do something, than to mess it up.”
“Glen told me it is a good place—always busy. He knew I was a good worker, and that at BTS, they would value my skills and how reliable I am. I continue to take pride in being at work, on-time, every day. I always say ‘yes’ when asked to do something.”
“They treat me like a family member—always nice and sharing laughter with me. BTS is not just about tires—we work on engines, brakes—almost everything. The customers are always happy with the way we treat them and with the good work we do.”
“Not just for Auto Tech—MTTI is a good choice for all of the programs the school offers. I’ve attended a college and it was very different—I didn’t always have even one teacher who cared. It is rare when you have every staff member, and all of your instructors, pushing for you to succeed.”
Spotlight: David Kar (2018); Michael Meagher (2019); Michael Borges (2019)
Top (left): Michael Borges (2019) with Instructors, Rich and Arturo. Middle (right): Michael Meagher (2019) with Instructors, Rich and Arturo.
Bottom (left): David Kar (2018) with Instructors, Glen and and Arturo. David received the Award for Best Shop Skills
& the Silver Wrench Award for Academic Achievement, Excellence in Shop Skills & Attendance.
Bottom Center: Three MTTI Graduates at BTS Tire & Service in Pawtucket, RI.
Passionate about motorcycles from a young age—a talented rider and mechanically gifted—when a devastating medical condition affected his memory and information processing, it challenged Robbie’s dream of becoming a motorcycle technician.
My father encouraged my interest in motorcycles. He got his first motorcycle, a Yamaha DT100 when he was 12 or 13; he was riding and working on bikes before I was born. When I was 4, my parents bought me a Trials motorcycle—a 50cc GasGas Trials Motorcycle. My dad put me on it, and I took off. I practiced riding all the time and began competing in motorcycle trials. My dad had his bike in the shed and 4 feet to the right was my bike. We tinkered with them before and after events.
Observed Trials or MotoTrials are non-speed events, in which competitors are scored on their technique and ability to balance, as they ride over rocks and logs. Riders lose points anytime they put their foot down. At the end of the day, the rider with the lowest score wins the trial. My father had begun participating in observed trials after breaking his leg, while competing in a motocross competition as a teenager.
My dad and I along with several others in the New England Trials Community flew to Sequatchie, TN to attend a World Round for the best Observed Motorcycle Trials riders in the world. It was mid-July and very hot. After the event we went back to the hotel and showered. I sat down on the bed and had a seizure—my first. At the hospital, no one knew why I had had the seizure; we thought it was brought on by the heat. Weeks later, when I had a second seizure, I was diagnosed with having refractory epilepsy, a type that isn’t completely controlled by medication.
I’d fall down and be unconscious for 15 or 20 minutes. Sometimes I’d hit and gash my head. I would always feel ‘foggy’ and exhausted afterwards. At 10, unable to ride because of the danger of having a seizure, I was forced to give up riding. It would be 10 years before I could get on a motorcycle again.
During 2013 I had surgery to implant a Vagus Nerve Stimulator or VNS that the doctors told me had a high success rate. It is often called a pacemaker for the brain. The VNS device is implanted under the skin in the upper left chest. It has wires that stimulate the left vagus nerve in the neck. Every couple of minutes, the device delivers a mild shock along the vagus nerve to the brainstem, which then sends signals that interrupt the unusual brain activity that would cause seizures.
When I was finally able to take the written test at the DMV, it took me extra studying time in order to pass. I got my permit while I was a student at MTTI. Two months after graduating I got my driver’s license—I passed the driving test first shot.
But the seizures I had in the past damaged my long-term memory and ability to process information. When I first began having seizures, I would remember how to do every-day tasks, but couldn’t recall people from the past. I’d eat breakfast in the morning, but 3 hours later, I couldn’t remember what I had eaten. Now I am able to recall parts of my life before I had epilepsy—the house, my room, the shed. I can only remember some of what my home environment looked like after I had the seizures; the mulch and dirt in the garden, for example—but not the flowers growing there.
After my family moved to Massachusetts, we would be driving on Route 6 and we’d see MTTI’s building. On the school’s website, I read about the subjects we would learn in the motorcycle program. I felt something like awe when I visited the school and saw all the engines on shelves in the shop. I was excited that I would be working hands-on with bikes in a school.
I told them that they would need to explain things to me 3 and 4 times for me to get it. Gary and Billy were patient with me and explained things well. I wrote out the steps of the major tasks I needed to do. I had a notepad with me on which I had written ‘how to change a tubeless tire’ and ‘how to disconnect a battery’. I kept all my work orders in a binder from MTTI, including work I did for my uncle and for a friend. I can remember doing the tire changes at MTTI and once I was hired at Brockton Cycle Center, I was able to repeat those steps at my job.
Everyone was nice to work with. You wouldn’t find that at many schools. If Gary and Billy were helping other students, I would ask one of them for help. By the end of the course, we felt like brothers. Since graduating, I’ve remained in touch with some of the friends I made.
In high school, you do an assignment for homework, and then a week later have a test. Then you move on to a whole different area of study. At MTTI, when you learn about 4-stroke engines, you’ll first be in the classroom with Gary at the whiteboard and that afternoon you’ll be in the shop, adjusting the cam chain. We each had our own engines in the shop to work on. I was able to do each skill 2-3 times. Repetition is the only way that learning works for me.
I worked on an engine that belongs to my father. I had taken the engine apart of a 45-year-old bike I bought, a ’75 Yamaha DT 100, that I worked on for my 2-stroke project. On the weekends, the two of us ripped that thing down to the bare bones. My dad had all of the metal sand blasted and powder coated, and then had it painted. My dad went on Yamaha’s website and bought all new parts for bike and engine that we needed to restore them, so it would work better. We got a new seat cover, lights, tire rims—everything. To finish the whole motor, we did all the measurements. We put in new nuts and bolts, new pistons and piston rings, crank shaft and push rod.
I completed 5 weeks of internship at New England Golf Carts. It was a good experience, but different than working on motorcycles. And unlike the engines I was used to. I just wanted to be and only be, a motorcycle mechanic. I began searching for positions at motorcycle shops and dealerships. I applied to a Harley dealership, but the position was filled while I waited for my interview. The company would have had to fly me to Florida to train for a week and I would have needed to pass the course. Harley-Davidson motorcycles can be complex and the faster pace at that particular dealership may have been too much for me.
Even before I got my driver’s permit, my parents called a friend that sells Trials bikes and they bought a bike for me, a Sherco 290. I started practicing in the woods, and in Exeter, RI where we have event. After 2 months of practicing, I decided it was time to compete in an event that was coming up in Exeter. I competed in the Novice class. When the event was over and I saw the scoreboard, I was surprised to see that I had placed second. My dad said, “After 10 years you still have it—you haven’t lost it.”
I clicked on the ad, selected the position I wanted to fill and sent them my application electronically. I was contacted by Jim and scheduled an interview for the following Monday. At Brockton Cycle Center, I interviewed with the owner, Alex, and with Jim. Jim walked me through the shop and asked if I could do tire changes, oil changes and other basic tasks. I said I could.
He asked me to take out the old lights and install the new lights on a bike. He said, “Write out the work order and tell me how many hours you worked.” New techs are typically paid by the hour. Their ad had stated: “flat rate” where you are paid for the work you do, not the hours you have worked. I’m building hours. I have progressed from changing headlights to changing plastics, to doing oil changes, new tires and adjusting chains and now I am replacing brakes.
I can keep up with him now, not as a rider...I’m not even close to him in riding, but as a mechanic. He has an extra 40 or so years of experience as a rider. One day, after I’ve worked long enough, I’ll be able to help him out with something he doesn’t know how to do.
All of those guys are ProMaster mechanics who know how to do their work to the highest standards. They have top-of-the-line tools. As a mechanic, my goal is to get motorcycles to the standard where it is safe and passes inspection. I tell myself to treat each bike as if it were my own. You don’t want the ‘check engine’ light to come on 10 minutes down the road after leaving the cycle shop!
On the job, doing 2-3 oil changes in one day, I can still remember how to do it a few days later. I’ve been slowly increasing my speed and getting more work done. More work means more stress and is more tiring, but you also make more money. Working at Brockton Cycle Center is a good foot in the door to the industry—it’s a perfect fit for me. I am gaining a lot of experience.
I remember the good memories better than the bad. I can recall what we did at MTTI because I had a great experience there. I had confidence in what I had learned and kept believing I could be a Motorcycle Technician even when I wasn’t hired right away. It’s taken me a little longer, but I’ve gotten to where everybody who graduated with me is, gainfully employed!
Robbie has been the co-chair of the Rhode Island Walk for Epilepsy multiple times since 2013.
During 2013, Robbie was one of 47 teens chosen by the National Epilepsy Foundation from across the country to participate in the Kids Speak Up! Conference in Washington, D.C., where he gained the skills necessary to become a teen advocate for those living with epilepsy. He has participated in The Adolescent Leadership Council of Hasbro Children's Hospital, and has been a camp counselor for TALC Jr. Robbie has been a founding member of the Adolescent Action Committee with Brown University, and has worked with The Matty Fund.
During 2016, Robbie was selected as one of Rhode Island’s Distinguished Finalists in the 21st Annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Program.
Spotlight Photo (top): Robbie in Front of Brockton Cycle Center; Top Left Photo: Robbie in MTTI's Motorcycle/Power Equipment Shop; Top Right Photo: Robbie with Instructors Billy & Gary at Graduation
Middle Left: Robbie in the Shop at Brockton Cycle Center; Middle Right: Robbie in the Shop at Brockton Cycle Center; Bottom: Robbie on a Harley-D at Brockton Cycle Center
I have high expectations of students. But it is all for their benefit. Medical Assisting is a demanding profession; our program is not easy. I tell students ‘The only way you can fail this program is if you are not motivated, compassionate or don’t ask for help. If you do these things you are bound to get through.’
Employers tell us that Medical Assistants are the foundation of every medical practice. Docs and surgeons say, ‘What would we do without MAs?’ We make practices run smoothly, even guiding practitioners and patients through encounters and procedures.
If you want to make Medical Assisting your career, you have to work hard—that starts here. When I was in school, I had one instructor who was amazing—I wanted to be like her. She encouraged and pushed me to make me believe in myself. As a teacher, if there is one thing students can take from me, it is that they believe in themselves—in their potential and goals. I tell them, ‘If I can do it—you can do it.’
I wanted to be in the medical field to help people in all situations. I made decisions while young to start training where it would be quick to get into the workforce. A lot of my skills have been learned through on-the-job experience in different practices where I’ve worked—ones that wanted to invest in me. I started by working in Cardiology, and have worked in Mental Health, Primary Care and Infectious Disease. Eventually, I was hired into my dream position at Mass General—Plastics and Reconstruction.
I left my dream job to teach at MTTI. While I worked in different medical practices, I learned everything I could so that I could share my knowledge. I like to bring a lot of my experience into the curriculum. Students learn from hearing real stories.
Instructors are able to spend a lot of time with each student. Our goal is to help each person reach their highest potential. We teach to their strengths and help them identify their weaknesses. By using repetition, we work with them until the clinical and communication skills become second nature; that increases their competency.
Medical practices most often cross-train Medical Assistants. MTTI’s program prepares student for both administrative and clinical medical assisting responsibilities. At MTTI, hands-on training includes software for Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and role playing for handling orders, referrals and consults. We practice the soft skills that often health professionals lack—while we’re doing the clinical skills. I and the other instructors emphasize teamwork, time management, communication—and especially empathy.
We listen to feedback from medical professionals at twice-yearly Program Advisory Committee meetings, and from the many internship supervisors and hiring sites. They tell us what is new in the field. Our graduates also tell us about new instruments and information, so that we can bring those into the program.
Medical Assistant responsibilities continue to grow. There’s a whole range of roles and job titles—and interesting specialties. After you graduate, if you want to grow, practices will be willing to train you. If you decide to continue your education, you’ll have a foot in the medical door—you’ll be ahead of the game.
"Anybody looking for a great school with instructors that care about your progress, this is it. MTTI is the real deal. The medical assistant program is super intense and there is so much to learn. Miss Courtney devotes so much time and effort into making the program great. If you want to get your foot into the medical field, do yourself a favor and check this school out.”
—Kristina Taber, 2019 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant at RI Hospital Neurodevelopment Center
"My instructor, Courtney Olson, is highly recommended! Tough when she needs to be! Really understanding! The school offers great hands on opportunities--and learning was fun!”
—Andrea Rodenbaugh, 2019 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant/Medical Secretary at EastBay Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
"I thank Ms. Courtney for pushing me; without her, I might have given up. She and Ms. Diane were always there to teach me a skill, or to bring me up when I was feeling down. Now I wake up with a smile on my face—excited—wondering what I’ll be doing that day.”
—Devon Gomes, 2019 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant at Coastal Family Medicine in East Providence, RI
"Ms. Courtney advised me not to be afraid to ask questions in class, and emphasized the value of teamwork. She encouraged me to move out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.”
Alejandro Puente, 2018 Medical Assistant Graduate
Medical Assistant, Lincoln Urgent Care
Always inspired to see graduates hired and beginning new careers, MTTI Instructors and Staff are equally uplifted to hear past graduates tell us that they feel successful and enjoy the work they are doing. Catching up with Building & Property Trades Technician graduate, Corey Smith, we learned that he has advanced in his role at Home Healthsmith™ where he had been hired, at graduation, as a Service and Installation Technician. During this unprecedented Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Corey is an essential worker. —MTTI
“Corey has really stepped up in his leadership role and has been become a strong member of our team. He is well respected in the field with our clients, builders and contractors as well as other team members. His organization skills are phenomenal and he has shown strong training skills with other employees. The comprehensive training he received at MTTI has served him well.
—Linda Bohmbach, ECHMP, DCP
Home Healthsmith LLC
Co-Founder & Vice President Sales & Marketing
“Out in the field as a technician, I’ve been able to do a lot of training. I’ve become familiar with many different types of equipment.” Corey is referring to adaptive technology, including stair lifts, wheel chair ramps, bathroom grab bars, shower and toilet seats, and the residential elevators that Home Healthsmith™ installs and services. The company’s mission is to provide accessibility and mobility solutions for seniors and disabled individuals, to keep them safe and comfortable in their homes or care settings.
“During my first six months on the job, I always worked with someone senior to me; now I’m overseeing schedules of other technicians and training them. I’m still working hands-on in the field, which is great—I enjoy working with clients. Taking a step up was a natural progression; my leadership role evolved as I learned to work with the machinery we install and repair, and was able to take on more responsibility. As a Project Manager, I work with architects and builders on the elevator side; I am keeping operations in the field running smoothly on the technician team side. Liaising between Bill and Linda Bohmbach, the Founders, and Christine who handles operations in our office, I’ve discovered that I excel in getting technicians what they need to do the work, and in meeting customers’ needs for the work we do.”
“Our presence in the region has increased; we service an ever-widening geographical area, extending from Portsmouth, Rhode Island, where we are based, into Connecticut and Massachusetts. It has been good for me; I feel fortunate to be able to grow with the company. As we’ve onboarded more employees, we’ve built a great team.”
“Bill has more than 30 years of experience in adaptive mobility equipment. Working with him has opened my eyes to the range of equipment that you can provide to help people have the freedom to age-in-place. Because Bill has shared his knowledge, I’m comfortable installing or repairing a wide range of machinery. Now I work closely with Bill to develop training materials for newer technicians.”
“Where we had a project in progress before the outbreak, we give clients the option to have us continue the work, or to wait. We’re taking every precaution for ourselves and for our clients. We don’t want to bring anything unwanted into, or out of, the house. We carry and use hand sanitizers. The protective equipment—mask, gloves and booties—is a bit uncomfortable, but especially important to wear, because we serve clients who may be at higher risk.”
“If a stair lift that goes to a second-floor bedroom fails, the client could be stuck on the first floor. We’ll take care of the electrical / mechanical problem and make sure everything is up and running. Recently, one of our clients turned to his wife, after we repaired the problem, and said to her, ‘Thank goodness we’re not going to have to stay downstairs; we can sleep in our bedroom tonight’ “.
“People are calling for new assessments, and we are happy to help them. We give top priority to a family whose elevator in their home is needed for their disabled child, confined to a wheelchair. Even while observing social distancing, we can conduct an assessment for a proposed ramp. Or we can easily repair wheel chair lifts outside, that enable the homeowner to enter the house.”
“I have repaired some equipment in my van. Equipment might be dropped off for us or left on the front porch, so there is no need for me to go into the house. Clients can stand on the porch and talk with us, while we remain at a safe distance from them. If the client wants us there, we can install grab bars in 1 or 2 hours, which immediately makes the home safer.”
“At MTTI, my Instructors, Pat and Don, taught me the basics in multiple disciplines—carpentry, & finish work plumbing, electrical and HVAC. During the program, I interned with an electrician who sometimes contracted with Bill and Linda to perform work on their projects. I considered pursuing an electrical career, but wanted to use all of the skills I learned to become a well-rounded technician. When Home Healthsmith™ had an opening, the wide range of skills—and the work ethic they were looking for—was a good match for me.”
“Looking back, I definitely got out what I put in. The program was intense—you have to jump in, which can be unsettling at first. I came to MTTI with limited background, but focused on the curriculum and especially on the hands-on activities in the shop. Pat and Don instilled in me critical thinking skills, which I draw upon when I need to do custom or out-of-the-box work at a client’s site. Working at Home Healthsmith™, I’ve been able to fine-tune the skills I learned at school.”
“Clients have always appreciated the finished projects we produce. During this difficult time, clients have been especially appreciative of what we do. Knowing that I am helping clients have a better quality of life lessens the stress of taking the extra precautions; I continue to enjoy coming to work every day. I want to give clients what they need, and do my part to maintain the company’s infrastructure—so we can all move together toward a brighter, better future. Bill and Linda have a great mission; they are driven in their commitment to enhance the quality of life for their clients and the community. I am happy to get behind them.”
Read Corey's 2017 graduate success story.
Spotlight (top): Corey working on a stairlift while wearing a mask, gloves & booties and maintaining social distance.
Left top: Corey with his company truck.
Right top: Corey with Home Healthsmith™ Co-Founder, Linda Bohmbach.
Left bottom: Corey working on a Home Healthsmith™ elevator project (2017).
Right bottom: Corey accepting his Diploma from MTTI Instructor, Pat Church (2017).
“MTTI has helped our organization—it’s a team effort. We enjoy seeing the students have success.”
Tom Meier, Service and Parts Director, Herb Chambers Honda, Seekonk, MA
I was 34 years old, with 2 children. I had been successfully working for 16 years in retail and retail management. But the work—and even the awards I won—left me feeling unfulfilled. As more and more brick and mortar stores closed each year, I became concerned about the uncertain future of the industry. And my resume for all those years of work just read: ‘retail—retail—retail.’
Growing up, I never really had a chance to work on bikes or cars. My Dad built and rebuilt motorcycles. My Dad was in a motorcycle club—all the guys in the club wrenched. Having grown up around mechanics, the whole culture of the garage intrigued me. I liked the way mechanics, in a garage or dealership, work together as part of a team.
On the same day I received that notification, I visited MTTI. In retail management, they taught us to take measured steps—not jump blindly into something. Despite not knowing much about the automotive industry—or whether I could be successful as an auto mechanic—I leaped. I had read reviews about MTTI, and knew people who had graduated from the school; everything was positive. Cheryl, the Admissions Rep, toured me and my wife through the building and shop. My wife gave me the ‘OK’ to enroll. Three days later, I started class in the Automotive Service Tech program.
Arturo is an unsung hero in the shop. He shows you things step-by-step—breaking it down so you can do it yourself. Glen, the main Instructor is amazingly smart—he knows everything about cars. There wasn’t a question we asked that he wasn’t able to answer. He is super-passionate about auto technology, and takes a genuine interest in his students.
I don’t think most people recognize the value of Career Services at a school. Think about what it is like to hunt for a job—to fill out application after application, and get rejected. Having someone with a rolodex, who can just plug you in, is invaluable. Erin is awesome! She said, ‘Here’s a list of people who are hiring.’
I was looking for the managers who would take time to see me—ones with whom I could develop a good rapport. Erin suggested I contact Herb Chambers Honda. Sandra Lotero, the Assistant Service Manager at Herb Chambers, put me in contact with their Service Manager, Tom Meier. I was open and honest with Tom about my abilities. I told him that I have a strong work ethic, and that I was willing to learn anything!
I started working at Herb Chambers a few months before I graduated from MTTI. I went there after class, from 4-8 pm. After graduation, I was hired full-time. Right away, I recognized a difference compared with working in retail. Retail is driven by numbers; the metric is how much you are selling. It’s cut throat, not cooperative. I’m enjoying the culture at Herb Chambers, where people help one another.
That’s the metric I want. As soon as I arrived, I set out to make people comfortable so they would want to work with me. The shop has little groups of people who network with one another and are comfortable working together. When you network with good people and help one another, you can do great things.
When I couldn’t figure something out, Matt walked me through the job. Matt is in his mid-twenties; he’s already a Honda Master Tech. He’s absolutely brilliant when it comes to cars, and the ‘go-to guy’ for everybody. There’s no real benefit to him for helping me; he’s just willing to share his knowledge and skills, which speaks volumes for his character. Anthony is a night student at MTTI, working days at Herb Chambers. A really good mechanic already, he’ll be phenomenal when he graduates from MTTI. He’ll help out with a job when it is hectic, and cheers everyone up with a quick joke.
As a new graduate, it’s a bit intimidating to walk into a garage where you will be working with accomplished mechanics. But management here has your back; they make your entry smooth. When they see you are working hard, they show their appreciation--and that encourages you. My Manager, Tom, is great. He understands the pressures, because he has worked in a garage. He’s done the job and has moved up, so he supports the guys!
I thank my wife, Michelle for supporting me. She was a super-mom, clocking in long days and nights. She would get the kids up in the morning and put them to bed at night—while I got up and went to school, and after school went to work. Many times, I had to FaceTime with my kids, at their bedtime, to say goodnight. My wife and I made the decision that if I was going to train as an auto tech, I would do it the right way. Now, we both couldn’t be happier with the decision we made.
I love working in the automotive industry. I’m feeling successful. At MTTI, you get out what you put in to your program. I gave it everything I had—everyday. I worked hard to graduate and find the right position in the automotive industry. Coming in, I wanted to know that the job I was training for is one I can do for life. Working as an Automotive Technician at Herb Chambers Honda, I feel am getting the great future that my family and I deserve.
1. Spotlight: Joe at Herb Chambers Honda, working in his bay.
2. Joe performing an inspection.
3. With Herb Chambers Honda, Service Manager, Tom Meier.
4. Joe with Matt and Anthony at Herb Chambers Honda.
5. Under the Hood at Herb Chambers Honda.
6. (Left) Joe accepting Silver Wrench Award for Excellence from Instructors, Arturo Ramos and Glen Verduchi &
(Right) With Gold Wrench Award Winner, Chad (middle) & Bronze Wrench Award Winner, Adam.
Don taught the Marine Tech program for 10 years at MTTI—from 2005-2015. After taking a couple of years to establish his new business, Oceanus Marine Group in East Greenwich, RI, he returned to teach again during 2017. In May 2019, his son, Keith, graduated from the program; he’s been working at a marina in South County, RI. Don also employs MTTI graduates at his business.
“After completing a year’s training in diesel mechanics during 1986, my first job was working on boats instead of trucks and rigs. I learned from three mechanics—one was really good in outboards, another in stern drives and the third in shaft work. Since 1987 I have worked as a Marine Technician and a Marine Service Manager, including owning my own business.“
“Knowing what customers want, and how to deal with the people and the process protects you from liability in the repair industry; it also prepares you to give the kind of customer service that builds a business. Whether working for ourselves or for an employer, we’re charging money to work on boats. It’s important to know how to fix things properly the first time, in a timely manner—without having the boat coming back with complaints from the owner.”
“If you’ve been tinkering with cars or working on boats on your own, we’ll help you fine tune and adapt your skills for the marine industry. If you’ve never worked on boats, you can be successful if you are motivated to learn, willing to work hard and to get your hands dirty. Class members may start at different places, but by the program’s end, all arrive at the same place.”
“At the end of the boating season, marinas decommission boats—getting them ready to be ‘put to bed’. Boats are made safe and secure so they don’t suffer damage during the winter. In spring, marinas commission boats--taking them from the winterized state and getting everything up and running. All systems are made fully operational, including the engine, fresh water system, A/C and the waste system.”
“It’s easier when you understand how things work. We talk about boats and engines every day—all day long. Everyone gets the lingo—the nautical terms and even boating slang. Theory, plus daily hands-on practice in the shop, builds your competence, so you can confidently enter the workforce. It all comes together at the end—especially when, during internship, you gain experience at an actual worksite. Internship can also give you a foot in the door at potential employment sites.”
“We’ve also added additional outboard motors to use with the software, so you can see how the computer diagnoses outboard issues. To make sense of what the computer is telling you, first you need to know how an engine runs—and how to make it run. We continuously build up your knowledge and understanding of engines throughout the program.”
“You meet new people every year—and get to be outside during the summer. Working on boats, you are doing something you enjoy. It is always rewarding to be doing something you know how to do well. The money is good, too—and it pays the bills. With experience, as you do the work faster and with less come-backs, you’ll increase your value to employers. Good marinas will provide opportunities for you to earn additional certifications by attending manufacturer’s trainings— and you’ll earn increases in pay.”
“There has always been a shortage of well-trained marine techs in the industry. I like to see people learn the trade; I feel gratified that I can train people who want to be in this industry. Seeing graduates grow good careers, and helping build the boating industry workforce, gives me a sense of accomplishment.”
“If you like problem solving and making things work, you’ll enjoy the challenge of fixing broken boats. When you fix something that others weren’t able to repair, it’s a really good feeling.”
"Don is a really good instructor. He doesn’t talk ‘at’ you; he helps you understand the information—not just learn it on paper. Don showed us how to do something, and then we would physically get to do it. It’s not even a question of whether you should enroll in MTTI’s program—just do it. Seven months could change your life forever!"
Cody Field, 2019 Graduate
Mechanical Department Technician at Safe Harbor New England Boatworks
Top Left: Don in MTTI’s shop with students
Top Right: Don and his son, at Keith’s graduation from the program, courtesy of John Wawrzonek
Bottom: Don with 2018 MTTI graduate and Oceanus Marine Group employee, Andrew Damm
“I got the bug for it. Then I took small engine repair in High School.” Since then, Tony has built his skills and knowledge working at a Subaru Dealership for 30 years. Tony has earned professional certifications—he’s fully factory certified for Subaru and is ASE Master Certified.
“I tell students that I had to fight for the job—the company was looking for more experience than I had. I told them, ‘Give me a shot. I’ll do what it takes. You won’t regret it.’ I encourage students to do the same.”
“No one in my family was in the trade or worked on cars. My interest started after I got my driver’s license—I liked going fast. I started tinkering with my car and going to the drag strip and street races at night. I wanted to see what those guys were doing to make their cars go fast. But I could only learn what they were willing to give away—they held onto their secrets. I had to watch their hands to see what they did.”
I earned an Associate’s degree---then, after a few years in the automotive field, I went back to night school and earned a second degree in mechanical engineering. I wanted to understand how engineers designed things. I enjoyed learning math, physics, machining and quality control. But if I were to work in an engineering job, I’d probably be drafting with AutoCAD, or designing the same thing over and over. I wouldn’t like being stuck behind a desk all day.”
“The best part of the industry is getting a car from another car dealership that they couldn’t fix—then spending some time figuring out what isn’t working and fixing it. Typically an upset customer has spent a ton of dollars elsewhere. When you fix their car, you get a happy customer and a happy boss.”
Where Tony has mastered Subaru vehicles, Jameson has accrued 10 years of experience making general repairs on all makes and models of vehicles—old and new.
“We want young people in high school to know that it’s OK to want to work with your hands. If you are in high school, you’re probably hearing that you should go to college. As a young person, you have every road ahead of you—you have to decide which one is right for you.”
“I thought, ‘I’ll give it a shot.’ At work, I saw people who came out of school and weren’t prepared for the industry. I wanted to see if I could make a difference. To fix something, you have to know how it works. After many years in the workforce, I’ve learned the tricks of the trade. I love problem solving and making creative repairs. I can show students the way I would do it—effective shortcuts that are easier, but get the job done right.”
“I tell students to ‘plan the task out so that it becomes a smooth transition from thinking through the problem to working on it. Step back and look at the whole picture. Have patience—relax—don’t just give up.’ It makes me feel proud—gives me the goosebumps—when someone understands something I’ve told them or can do something I've demonstrated.”
“I knew Tony by name before I ever met him. His reputation precedes him in the high performance industry. Tony can fabricate roll cages and anything you need for vehicles. Everyone in racing likes him, which is unusual. His skill in racing and building cars is outstanding. He’s unbelievably talented—and extremely humble.”
“I have the muscle--Jameson has the words.” Jameson agrees, “I do the talking and Tony does the walking. I’m able to translate what students read in the service procedures and boil it down to the meat and potatoes of how to get the job done quickly, correctly and safely. Safety is the #1 priority.”
"I hope to inspire students to want to learn. I always ask myself the question ‘why’ when I’m thinking that something doesn’t make sense. After a few months, I see that in the students—they are more inclined to raise their hands and ask the questions.”
Tony and Jameson say they have a similar way of thinking about how to approach students to deliver the info to them. “Even when we have different ideas, we can talk about it and come up with how to best combine ideas or choose one idea over the other. We learn from each other.”
“We’re showing them how they can work with other people—some of whom will have a lot more experience than they do at the beginning of their career. We want them to feel confident about what they’ve learned in school—but be open to other ways of doing things. We’re setting students up for continuing to learn on the job.”
The senior students help the newer ones practice basic tasks like changing oil or mounting tires. “If a student can demonstrate a task, or assist another student with a skill, it reinforces what they’ve learned. Students build relationships and bond—we’ve never seen a student left out. They take care of one another—we’ve seen students make slides of material to share with students who have missed a class.”
"The students have been eager to learn what Tony and I have to share. The energy and the motivation of the students have revitalized my love for the industry. We’re watching students do more and more impressive work—even before they complete the program and go to work in the industry. They are inspiring both of us.”
“We’re a team. Like peanut butter and jelly, one of us wouldn’t be as successful without the other.” To anyone considering training evenings as an Auto Tech, they say, “If you have a positive attitude, if you want to do this—we want to help you. We’ll do what it takes.”
“It’s their hard work that makes them successful. We give students respect as adults—as our equals. After all, one day in the future, it’s entirely possible that Tony or I could be working with any one of them as colleagues in the automotive industry.”
For 21 years, I lived in a refugee camp in Nepal. It was a struggle. My father passed away when I was two years old. We were not allowed to become citizens, so I had no cultural identity. The family’s resources were limited. Every fifteen days, we would receive rice and vegetables to cook and eat—just enough, with no extra. The house we lived in was made of bamboo; the roof would leak every summer.
We had freedom to go anywhere within Nepal; there was no fence—no boundaries. But without citizenship, I could not immigrate to another country. We could travel to India, but could not gain citizenship there. I never imagined that one day I could have the opportunity to become a citizen of the United States.
Most people my age grew up with technology. I was 19 years old, a student in college, when I first used a computer. I expected I would take a low salaried position in Nepal after graduation. I needed to support my family. After two years in college, I taught English, science and math at a private school. I loved teaching grades 2 - 8; I like kids.
Anita was a local Nepali girl. I would go to her house to get a drink of water. She knew I was a refugee, but did not know when we met that I would be going to the United States. We fell in love.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration( IOM) partnered to assist refugees with a legitimate fear of persecution to make a permanent settlement in a third country. Resettlement was at will; you could choose where you wanted to go. The possibilities offered to me were Canada, Australia, Demark, Norway, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United State; I chose the United States. My Uncle randomly selected Rhode Island; my mother wanted to be with her brother. In 2010, I chose to come to Rhode Island to be with my uncle and mother.
My future wife promised me, ‘I will wait no matter how long it takes for you to become a United States citizen’. We trusted each other. She waited 6 years in Nepal while I gained US citizenship. After becoming a citizen in 2015, I returned in 2016 to Nepal and married Anita. As a citizen, I had the legal right to have my wife join me in the States. Today she is a permanent resident; next year she can apply for citizenship.
I had learned to speak English at the refugee camp—it was ‘British English’. The slang in the US was a little more challenging; the ‘flavor’ was different. I could understand everything said to me, but people had difficulty understanding me. When I began working in the US, people at my workplace helped by correcting me when my English was wrong.
I love Rhode Island—it is a beautiful state. Everywhere I go, I meet nice people. For 8 years I worked at Lumetta. The owner and the team became like a family to me. I had no manufacturing or electrical knowledge; they gave me the opportunity to assist the Assembly Supervisor. When, after 2 years, he moved out of the position, I was promoted to Assembly Supervisor. In 2015 I was promoted to Electrical Supervisor. The company would have paid for me to attend school to become an Electrician. I could have worked during the day and gone to electrician school at night.
My passion—my dream--was to learn computer technology. My wife and I met with the Admissions Rep, Cheryl, and with the Instructor, Ken, on the same day. Visiting the class, I saw it was smaller in size. The instructor had enough time to work with students one-on-one. In a big class, you will not have all of your questions answered. When you spend more time working directly with the Instructor, you get more knowledge.
It would have taken 2 years—24 months—to earn the degree. At MTTI, every aspect of IT is covered—and it can all be done in 7 months. My instructor, Ken,is very knowledgeable. The way he taught matched my style of learning. Although my computer experience was less than most of my classmates, I did everything I could do to ‘catch up’. My hard work paid off—I earned the Highest Average Award in my class. I wasn’t looking for the result or the rank—I just wanted the knowledge.
After dropping my resume at these places, I googled ‘IT services in Massachusetts’ and the name ‘Automation Concepts & Technologies came up. At 3:40 pm, it was my eighth and last stop. I knocked on the door and introduced myself to Jessica and Drew. Drew told me he is a 2016 graduate, hired directly from MTTI’s program; he knew what I had learned. Jessica emailed me the next day. I had expected one interviewer—but instead three people interviewed me. They asked me to explain TCPI and networking to them. Finally, they shook my hand and asked if I would like to intern with them.
The team I work with answers all my questions and teaches me new things. They are supportive—they push me to learn more—but don’t worry about me ‘messing up’. My team knows I have good knowledge from MTTI, so they have confidence in my ability to learn quickly. They let me figure it out first by myself and then they will help me. I am so glad that I knocked on the door of Automation Concepts & Technologies!
We work with commercial clients, like the YMCA, Bernie & Phyls and Premiere Ultrasound. I exercise caution and ask questions before I make major mistakes—how, when, why, what do you want me to do? Between my knowledge from MTTI and the questions I ask, they are comfortable giving me anything and everything. They also like the documentation I do. I learned from my Instructor, Ken, how to create step-by-step documentation, so that someone else can do the same operation tomorrow.
The United States is the greatest country—you are lucky if you grow up here. I thank my Instructor, Ken, who passed on his knowledge to me. I appreciate Cheryl, the Admissions Rep, for motivating me as she walked me through the enrollment process, and for help from Alicia in Financial Aid. Shawn, in Career Services constantly sent emails about job opportunities and helped me create a resume. Thank you, Susanne, for listening to my story. I appreciate the help and support of the team at Automated Concepts—Brian, Carlos and Jessica. I am most grateful to my mom, Hari Parsai, and my wife, Anita Oli, for their trust in me and support of my choice to train for a computer & networking career.
Going to MTTI is the best decision you can make; the hands-on training is a big benefit—half theory and half practice. Doing is learning—I learn more when I do it. The Computer & Networking curriculum is a complete package to train you for the IT industry—from networking to PC troubleshooting. MTTI’s program doesn’t lead to just one position—you can work as Helpdesk, Network Administrator, Field Technician or as an Internal Technician within an IT company, and across many different industries.
I would not have been able to earn a good livelihood. Without good work you cannot fill your own or your family’s hungry stomachs. Without a good house you cannot protect yourself or your family from the rain. In Nepal, which is an agricultural country, there is a saying: ‘You need to have a good set of tools to dig a barren field. The wrong set of tools will make the digging take days. With the right set of tools you can dig that field in a day.’ I was able to complete the Computer & Networking program in only 7 months—at graduation I was already hired and working in the industry I am passionate about. I am very grateful that I got the right set of tools at MTTI.
Top - Jai with his Instructor, Ken Souza, at graduation.
Middle - Jai in MTTI's lab during the telecom cross-training
Bottom - Jai holding his son during graduation
“I think most people don’t recognize there are many careers paths they can pursue in boating—and that they can build sustainable careers. It’s a great place to work. Workers in the boating industry are very enthusiastic about providing service to the boat owners. Typically boaters are nice people—happy to be doing a recreational activity they enjoy. They love being on the water, and want to have the maximum time out there. It’s a fun industry; we share the love of the lifestyle with the boaters and feel fortunate to be working with people who are happy.”
“According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the overwhelming majority of recreational boaters are middle-class Americans. Of the recreational boat population in the U.S., 95 percent of registered mechanically-propelled boats are less than 26 feet in length, which makes them trailered boats1. “
"There is a community feel within boating industry businesses, staffed by people who have worked there for years. The focus is getting the boaters on the water and helping them maximize their recreational time. Opening day for the season is an exciting time—working together to get the boats on the water and facilities ready.”
"Both marine and auto trades are a great fit for people who have mechanical aptitude and like to work hands-on. As a Marine Technician, you’ll likely be working around the water and have the opportunity to test drive boats during sea trials. Marine Technicians experience new challenges every day. Every boat—every engine—is different; the work is definitely not repetitive. Marine Techs, once they’ve hit the expected standards in their work, are given flexibility to work on their own. They are supervised, but typically are not micromanaged.”
“Marine technology is changing. Boats and engines need to meet environmental standards. The industry has opportunities for people who have computer skills or knowledge of electric and electronic technology related to marine systems. Employers want smart people who can troubleshoot as well as repair problems.”
"Most companies place a high value on training and retaining employees—they want to make them feel valued. These companies will groom people for the industry and support them as they work their way up. A good percentage of these jobs require the mechanical hands-on skill set that MTTI trains for. People can start as mechanics and, depending on the size of the facility, expand their skills to work in fiberglass, carpentry, HVAC, painting, maintenance and many other positions—you don’t have to do just one thing. If you want to travel, certain service facilities offer service on the road. Others, like Safe Harbor Marinas, offer the opportunity for you to transfer to facilities in other states or regions of the country.”
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, “Typical positions include: outboard, Inboard/outboard, diesel, and system technicians; yard worker generalists; and administrative, sales, finance, and marina staff. The jobs are usually performed near the water and offer competitive salaries and hourly wages, typically year around.” You can view a continuously updated list of open positions at: https://www.massboatingcareers.com/jobs.html. You can view a Wage and Benefits Survey completed by the Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust (October 2018), which includes a chart of low, average and high pay per hour or yearly salary, according to the position.
“When you are looking for an internship or job, making contact and communicating with companies is one of the key elements to getting hired. After doing some research about different facilities call and visit managers to talk with them. Ask smart, well-thought out questions. Even if you are not interested in the positions they offer, they are good contacts. Share your interests in working on boats—establish that you are passionate about the industry. Make connections for the future. You never know what will come up.”
“Ask questions, seek help. It is important for new hires to have a mentor. Talk to managers and owners and tell them, ‘I’m interested and want to learn more—this is what I want to do over the next years.’ Have a plan for future growth—goals and expectations; tell them you hope to do this with their company.”
“Students are getting seven months of hands-on training at a well-run organization—that gives them a real boost to get their foot in the door. I’ve attended Program Advisory Committee meetings at MTTI to review the Marine Service Technician program, and am impressed with the training-related placement, which is at, or very close to, 100% each year.”2
The Massachusetts Marine Trades Educational Trust (MMTET) awards scholarships to deserving individuals who are pursuing a career in the industry. Massachusetts Marine Trades Association’s Board of Directors founded the MMTET, a non-profit foundation, which funds efforts to accomplish the educational goals of the Massachusetts Marine Trades. These awards may be given to a Massachusetts resident who is a high school senior or graduate pursuing an education or training at a qualified institute of higher learning, with the intent of entering or continuing to work in the recreational marine industry in Massachusetts. Depending on the number of applications and funding available each year, awards can be up to $1500. Ask the Admissions Rep at MTTI for the application to apply.
Executive Director of the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association since 2017, Randall Lyons has more than 20 years of experience in the boating industry. Starting out doing seasonal work at the Nantucket Boat Basin, he worked his way up to become Director of Communications. He moved on to gain experience as a Service Writer for a marine dealership and then worked at another marina. From 2006 to 2016, he started as Assistant General Manager and was promoted to Business Manager for Newburyport Marinas. In addition to his dedication to industry workforce development, Randall also strongly advocates for getting kids out on the water early in their lives. Although he worked around the water at an early age, he didn’t grow up boating. Now he enjoys sharing his passion for the industry with his two kids, providing them the opportunity to learn more about boating and fishing at an early age.
Top: Randall with 2015 MTTI Graduate, Alyssa Linkamper (Safe Harbor Marinas) at Recruit Military Career Day
Read Alyssa's "Busting Myths About Marine Tech Careers"
Left: MMTA Displays at the Boat Show
Right: Randall with 2017 MTTI Graduate & MMTET Scholarship Recipient, Justin Hart (Burr Brothers Boat, Inc.)
Read Justin's story.
Bottom Right: Randal Lyons Promoting Careers in Boating at the Boat Show
CITATIONS 1. Basic Facts of Recreational Vessel Population and Recreational Boating Demographics; National Marine Manufacturers Association; https://www.nmma.org 2. Marine Service Technician program training-related employment, according to the standards of the ACCSC (Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and College): Program Year 2015-16 - 7 people graduated / 7 people employed = 100%; Program Year 2016-17 - 11 people graduated / 11 people employed = 100%; Program Year 2017-18 - 14 people graduated / 13 people employed = 93% (1 person medically unable to work; Program Year 2018-2019 - 11 people graduated / 11 people employed = 100%.
"Passionate about automobiles since I was a kid, I worked on cars with my father and with neighborhood friends. I was an Automotive Tech for 3 years at Balise Chevrolet and for 16 years at Hurd Chevrolet / Buick / GMC and Hummer. What drives me is the look on students’ faces when they understand something they didn’t before entering the program. Teaching is not just a job—it’s an opportunity to share my experience and to help students start a career in the automotive industry."
Glenn Verduchi, Instructor
General Motors Master Tech / RI State Inspector
"I started working in my family’s automotive business while still in High School. Twenty years of experience on many makes and models has given me a good grasp of mechanics. When I work with students hands-on in the shop, I can help them ‘get’ what they may not have understood in the classroom. I know how important it is to employers that Techs be dependable; I strive to model that every day for students, to help them become more work-ready."
Arturo Ramos, Shop Skills Instructor
OSHA Certified Trainer (General Industry) / RI State Inspector
"An Automotive Mechanic for 18 years, I’m passionate about the advancement of technology in the automotive industry. I work with the school and with employers on our Program Advisory Committee to keep looking to the future, so that our program trains students to meet changing employment needs. Introducing students to electromagnets and magnetic fields is relevant for today’s hybrids and electric cars—and is even more important for tomorrow’s automotive technology jobs. We’ve included a whole course on diagnosing an engine’s conditions, including:
— Check engine lights
— ABS (anti-locking brake systems)
— Scan tool use and goals
—Diagnostic flow charts
—Connector end views
We teach students according to the 'fix it right the first time' diagnostic approach that addresses the customer’s complaint and fixes the vehicle right—first time, every time."
Richard Barth, Department Chair/ Instructor
ASE Master Tech / American Welding Society, Weld-Strength Certified / BraunAbility Certified
"Arturo, Rich and Glen are good teachers. They were easy to get along with, relatable and they communicated well. I always had someone to help me in the shop and to answer my questions. Before going to school, I had just been turning wrenches. I’ve become a more knowledgeable, confident and efficient Auto Service Tech. Attending MTTI was well worth my time and money. I now have a greater knowledge base to help me grow in the industry." —Jarett Croisetiere, 2019 Graduate, Service Tech at Tasca Ford
"Great school, very hands-on; great instructors." —Enleil Aho, 2018 Graduate, Auto Tech at Main Street BP in Athol, MA
"The Instructors (at MTTI) are friendly; you will get the help that you need to work in the proper way." --Derek Merow, Express Service Tech at Courtesy Kia
"At MTTI you work on many makes and models of vehicles. We learned to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair anything that comes in the door—our own or our classmates’ cars, and vehicles community members bring in. Similar to working in a repair shop, we saw or performed diagnostics almost every day—whether we used a scan tool or visually inspected a vehicle, to know what needed to be repaired. When I tried something my own way, I had validation from the Instructors. Instead of asking, ‘Am I doing this right?' I could say to them, ‘Do you see what I see?’ It supports, and even pushes you, to go for the answers when someone shows you how to do it yourself. Going to school to learn something we really like puts us on the path of doing something better in life." —Veronica DosSantos, 2018 Graduate, Express Tech at a Subaru Dealership
“The career opportunities are endless for those who have a passion for the marine trade. As mature workers retire, the industry is looking to hire, train and promote Marine Technicians. Experienced marine mechanical technicians want to pass their knowledge and skills on to entry-level workers. It is a great time to learn and advance into higher level positions as they become available.”
She had never even started an outboard motor. The only female and smallest person in her class, she initially doubted her ability to work as a Technician. Encouraged by her Instructor, classmates and (then) 10-year old daughter, she graduated the seven–month program at the top of her class, earning the Highest Academic Average Award & the Gold Wrench Award for Academics, Attendance and Shop Skills. She interned and was hired as a Marine Technician at Safe Harbor Onset Bay. Read Alyssa’s story.
Out of its hundreds of member schools nationwide, the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges selects only one person each year for this honor—in 2015, they chose Alyssa. View the video of Alyssa accepting the Outstanding Graduate Award at the ACCSC Professional Development Conference in Arlington, VA.
“Working as a Dockmaster was a great experience for me. During the summer, I interacted directly with guests to ensure they had a memorable experience at the marina. I loved talking with boat owners and learning their ‘story’. As a Dockmaster, I learned a different side of the business, from personalizing a member’s visit to building docks and everything in between. Working with the yard crew, I assisted with hauls, launches and shrink wrapping for winter storage.”
The two companies merged, making Safe Harbor Marinas the largest owner and operator of marinas in the world. When the Massachusetts Marine Trades Association received a grant for Workforce Development, Onset’s General Manager and the Safe Harbor Regional VP recommended Alyssa to MMTA Executive Director, Randall Lyons; she joined forces with him as a Workforce Liaison. “I went to Boat Shows, Career Days and Schools to introduce people to the marine industry and its career opportunities.”
During 2019, they created two new positions, promoting Alyssa to Recruiting Specialist for the Northeast and hiring Holly Ashton as the new Director of Workforce Development. “I spent my first two months visiting different Safe Harbor Marinas to meet the GM’s and better understand recruiting challenges. Each one is unique in the work they do, and how they accomplish their goals. Holly and I are working on ways to create a pipeline of candidates with all levels of experience for Safe Harbor Marinas to hire, retain and train.”
Alyssa completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management at Bridgewater State University during 2017. “My plan from the beginning has been to learn as many different aspects of marina operations with the goal of working towards a management position. I enjoyed working as a mechanical technician, but I also enjoy the people aspect. If I hadn’t loved my job as a marine technician, I wouldn’t be in this position as a Recruiting Specialist, telling people what I love of about the marine industry.”
“I feel fortunate to be working in the industry I’m passionate about. This is a recreational industry. When boats are running well, customers are happy. It’s an upbeat, infectious environment."
“MTTI’s program does a fantastic job of teaching the seasonal cycles of a boatyard—what work is done during fall, winter, spring and summer. The way MTTI’s program is structured, we came out understanding—and with hands-on experience doing—what is expected of new Techs in each season of the cycle.”
“We worked on boats that students and community members brought to the school; it prepared us for the types of problems we would encounter on actual jobs. We were exposed to engine work; painting, gel coats and fiberglass; trailer maintenance; commissioning; shrink wrapping and winterization. We were also trained to understand how every crew member’s role is important to the flow of the work. There is camaraderie in the yard—everyone works together toward a common goal.”
“The Career Services piece at MTTI is important to graduates’ success. The school has built great relationships with marine companies and has a very good reputation—it helps students get hired by good companies. We had on-going assistance with résumé writing, interview preparation and lots of support for getting internships and job opportunities. MTTI really does set you up to be successful and to have a career.”
While most coastal states do have a high need for skilled technicians, so do many interior areas! Wisconsin and Michigan have large lake populations. Texas and Kentucky, inland North Carolina and inland Georgia are among the states that have the highest number of marine mechanic and service technician employees1; Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and states along the Gulf Coast all employ Marine Technicians. According to Alyssa, “Safe Harbor Marinas have 82 properties nationwide. You can go to the Safe Harbor Marinas website, pick your state and see what opportunities we have in that location."
1Employment by state map and citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Seasonal positions are available, if that’s what you are looking for—we have good opportunities for people who want to work only in the summer, or for retirees who want to work part-time. Marine work goes on all year. During spring, we are busy commissioning and getting boats out on the water, making emergency repairs throughout the summer. At the end of the summer season we winterize boats and prepare them for storage. Boat owners don’t want to miss any time on the water; during winter we do major repairs and upgrades and install new electronics to have their watercraft ready to launch at the start of the spring season.”
"This is such a dynamic industry! Technicians do a variety of tasks—plumbing, carpentry, electrical, HVAC—and taking boats on sea trials. Each boat is different—every day is a new adventure."
"A lot of Marine work is done outdoors—climbing into small spaces to access engines or other marine systems in the heat of summer or cold of winter. The ability to work outdoors and on the water is what attracts many people to work the marine field. However, many marinas have heated sheds and well-lit nice, clean indoor shops, where you’ll work at least part of the time."
"Like any industry in which you are employed as an entry-level worker, pay increases as you gain skill and experience. Continuing your education to gain additional Certifications will typically merit an increase in pay. As you require less supervision and are able to take on additional responsibilities, employers will pay you more."
There are many career options! Marinas support entry-level workers who demonstrate a desire to learn and grow. They provide training on the job, often in the form of mentoring by senior employees. Many marinas pay for continuing education by sending employees to manufacturer trainings.
MTTI’s Marine Service Technician program is offered once each year—September through April. We are enrolling now for the September start. You can read about the Marine Service Technician program: https://www.mtti.edu/programs/marine-service-technician or contact us.
Michael Siravo's, Asher Marshall's and John Barbosa's industry experience spans all of the areas taught in MTTI’s program: residential, commercial and industrial HVAC plus Refrigeration. Mike holds Rhode Island Master Refrigeration and Master Pipefitter Licenses plus a Massachusetts Journeyman Refrigeration License. John has Massachusetts Master Sheet Metal & Oil Burner Licenses. Ash holds Rhode Island Master Refrigeration and Master Pipefitter Licenses. (Top Photo: Ash (left), John (center) & Mike (right).
“Like many of our students, I started out in a different career—working in the jewelry tool industry, making tools for stamping. When that industry started to disappear, I wanted a stable trade. As a skilled HVAC technician, you can always find work. I worked first for my uncle’s company, as an apprentice to my younger brother. After 3 years in residential and light commercial, I moved into commercial and industrial work. “
“After I retired from the Union, I supervised the HVAC Department at Rhode Island Hospital, managing a $3 million budget. My work experience has given me a wide knowledge of the industry, starting with houses and an ending up with big chillers.”
He came to the US from the Cape Verdean Islands when he was only 14. “My Dad had a heart attack while I was still in high school. I had to support the family—including 4 brothers and 2 sisters. I attended a Trade School for plumbing and did well. When an opening in HVAC came up, my teacher gave me my first opportunity. During my Junior Year, I alternated between going to school for two weeks and working for two weeks. By my Senior Year, I was working full time in HVAC.”
“The students I trained became good at their work—and then moved on. I was teaching at the same time I was doing the work. I started thinking that maybe the next step in my career would be to become a teacher. For a year before coming to MTTI, I worked with a service company on Cape Cod. I wasn’t looking for work. My daughter saw an advertisement for an HVAC/R Instructor, while she was looking for a job after completing college. She thought it would be perfect for me. I interviewed at MTTI and was hired as the Shop Skills Instructor.”
“College didn’t work for me. My father was a truck driver, and I had been a truck driver’s helper, so I knew that life wasn’t for me. I was fortunate to have a family member in HVAC; my Uncle gave me the opportunity to work with him and learn the Trade. I looked at working in HVAC as a rare opportunity to learn something that not everyone can do—most people aren’t going to work on their own boilers. I consider myself fortunate that the HVAC/R field ‘picked’ me.”
“That connected me to Roland, who was teaching at the school. The program was growing, they were looking to add Instructors. I decided to try teaching and found I liked it. It is gratifying to see people come into the program and get a job in the industry. I consider myself a vessel for the information. I am able take an advanced concept, put it into words and communicate it. Teaching feels like the best job for me and the best thing I can do for the industry.”
“When you go to a customer’s home or a commercial job, you don’t feel you’ve changed someone’s life the way you do when you are teaching. There are some students you think aren’t going to make it—but then they surprise you. Maybe they don’t ‘get’ air conditioning, but suddenly the light turns on for them during the refrigeration unit. They get a job and do well in it. It’s a great feeling towards the end of the program, when a student comes up to you and says, ‘Thank you—I got it’.”
“Instructing in the shop feels natural to me. I have lots of experience doing the job—almost everything we teach is something I’ve worked on in the field. I’m a people-person. I enjoy helping different people in each class.”
John appreciates students who show respect and have discipline. “I try to teach them how to present themselves—to have the customer service skills that will encourage employers to hire them. I believe in teaching with patience, kindness and respect for each student. My former boss taught me how to work hard and be productive—now I can pass that on.”
Ash explains, “I understand concepts now that I didn’t when I was a Technician in the field. Teaching takes the knowledge accrued from experience in the trade and sharpens it.” John agrees that, “The industry is always changing—things become more efficient. You have to keep up with the information. What I like most about teaching is that I am always learning.”
"The notes get better each time around. We do a good job in the classroom of delivering theory—but I like that we emphasize hands-on learning.”
Ash adds, “Students can take all of the information and skills to prepare themselves for working in the field. It is gratifying when past students come back to tell you about their work in the industry—you’ve helped them progress. A young person comes to school working part-time as a dishwasher, graduates, and a year later is earning a good living as an HVAC/R professional.”
Mike says, “You have to have patience—not get frustrated when something doesn’t immediately work the way you would expect. You need to think creatively about problems—there’s always a way to solve each one. And you need to have good customer service skills.”
“Training for the trades wasn’t encouraged during the last 25 years—high school students were pushed to go to college. Older workers are now retiring and there is a real need for skilled workers. This trade rewards you if you are good at your work. It’s not about how long you’ve been in the industry—it’s about your ability to prove yourself to your employer. Work hard and keep learning and you can have a great career.”
“We bring the best training to students by working together. If a student doesn’t understand something I’ve taught, he can go to Ash to hear it explained in a different way. John helps students put theory taught in the classroom into practice in the shop. One way or another, if students maintain focus on learning, they will get a lot out of the program. We have had a lot of successes.”
“Students at MTTI have the advantage of a team of teachers who bring their collective experience to train them. They have the reputation of the school to sponsor them for employment. Employers don’t hire everyone who walks in the door; I’ve heard them say they’re willing to give MTTI students a shot because of the school’s reputation. ”
“MTTI’s program is rigorous—but no one here wants to see you fail. We want you to succeed, get a good job and use your knowledge and skills in the workforce. Even after students graduate, if you haven’t yet been hired, we will continue to help you find employment in a training-related position.“
“Think about what kind of job you want to do—if you want a hands-on technician career, then MTTI will be a great fit. Our primary concern is that you get a job in the HVAC/R industry—so we want to help you find an internship and get hired. That’s what we are about—Education for Employment.”
“MTTI helped me greatly increase confidence in working with tools and with my hands—and find a career. Dedicated, knowledgeable instructors, excellent program. One of my best life choices.”
—Dalton Lyons, 2019 HVAC/R Technician Graduate
HVAC Tech, New England Refrigeration & Heating, Wareham, MA
“I just finished the HVAC/R program at MTTI and i could not recommend this school enough. Not only does this school train you to be ready for a real world job in the industry, but they also work very hard to make sure you get employment. I could not be more satisfied with the entire experience. The instructors have extensive experience in the field that they pass along to students; they will bend over backwards to make sure you understand the concepts and they work with everyone, no matter how long it takes. They have many furnaces, air conditioner systems, and refrigeration equipment that we could work on so we got a lot of hands on experience. This is also a very good time to get into the HVAC/R field.”
—Michael Dacus, 2019 HVAC/R Technician Graduate
Facilities Support Tech, Cumberland Farms (Service/Repair/Refrigeration)
“MTTI helped me become a better, stronger person. Our Instructor, Mike, is really knowledgeable and really prepared us for the field we were going into. Great school, great teacher.”
—Pedro Figueroa, 2018 Graduate
HVAC Service Technician R.B. Queern
“MTTI gave me all my skills to make an easy job transition. I highly recommend MTTI and the HVAC/R course. Ash is an amazing, smart Instructor.”
—Mike Lolio, 2019 HVACR/ Technician Graduation
Service Tech at SS Service Corp
"John—You are a great person and teacher. Thanks for helping me through school and always being patient with me while learning. You are a person I will never forget. I really appreciate everything."
—Eli Raposa, 2018 HVAC/R Technician Graduate
Service Tech (Apprentice) at Devaney Energy / Casey's Oil and Propane
My dad was a tinkerer—he liked to repair things on his own. Early in life he would show me what he was doing; sometimes I helped him. Watching him encouraged my interest in learning a trade. As I went through high school though, I was told I should be going to college.
I enrolled in an online electronics course. They sent pamphlets and books for me to study. I would submit work online to be graded and take tests online. Doing book work in an online program just wasn’t right for me.
In 26 years at Texas Instruments I gained experience in electronics and quality control. While at TI, I started taking an Electronics Engineering Technology program at a community college. Unfortunately, after going to night classes for about two years, my work schedule changed. I was unable to attend night classes to complete the program.
I thought I’d give a new program in renal dialysis a try. The program would prepare me for a clinical medical position. My attendance and grades were perfect, but the Teacher, who managed a clinic in Taunton, told me she saw something different in me. She said, ‘You don’t have a clinical mind—you have a technical mind. You’re the kind of person my company would want to hire in a technical position.’ Fresenius Medical Care offered me a position and I accepted.
I wanted to be in a business that would stay in this country—not be outsourced. At Fresenius Medical Care, I successfully repaired and maintained dialysis equipment, water treatment equipment and mechanical/electrical systems. Over time, I was promoted into a management position as a Supervisor of Technicians for southern New England.
The company allowed me to step down from being a Supervisor and go back to being a Technician. I continued with the company another five years. Eventually it became time for me to make another change. I decided I was ready to pursue my lifelong desire to become an Electrician.
While my youngest son was still in high school, we contacted and met with Carissa DiMuccio-Haddad at CARJON Air Conditioning and Heating. CARJON has hired many Technicians from MTTI. Carissa was helpful in offering information about the HVAC/R industry. Talking with her led us to look at programs at the school.
The structure of the Residential and Commercial Electrician program curriculum, the layout of the classroom and shops all suited my goals perfectly. My son started the HVAC/R Technician program in June; I started the Electrician Program in September.
My Instructors, Kevin D and Kevin H, got the information across and made it interesting. Both are very knowledgeable; they were able to teach the skills we needed to learn from their own industry experience. When we applied electrical theory to working hands-on in the shop, it became a living thing.
I had enjoyed many aspects of the job at Fresenius. It called on me to be well-rounded in using electrical, mechanical and hydraulic skills. The money was good.
One day, while at school, a headhunter called me about a job opening in Biomed. I put the call on speaker. My classmates listened while the headhunter named a very substantial amount of hourly pay. I had to quickly decide: Was I going to stick with my decision to follow my heart and start a new career? Or go where immediately I could make money? My classmates all heard me turn down the Biomed opportunity—and choose to stay in school.
School was a challenge similar to rock climbing. People who know me would tell you that when I got to the base of the rock to start climbing, I never looked back. My primary and ultimate goal was to get to the top. The same was true at MTTI—my goal was to graduate and go to work; once I decided to follow my heart’s desire, I never looked back. This was what I was going to do for the rest of my life.
I applied for positions online. I worked with Career Services, handing out resumes, shaking employer’s hands and following up with them.
Carissa gave me the names of two companies they refer customers to. One was Izzo Electric. I called and told Joe that Carissa had referred me. He said he was there every day at 5 am. I met with him the next day before going to school. He was advertising for an Electrical Apprentice. He hired me in the position, starting the first day of internship.
Sometimes I wish I had followed my interest in electrical right after high school. I do have a unique set of work skills from working years at TI and Fresenius Medical Care. The timeline was right for me.
My instructors helped me have a rewarding educational experience. Even Staff—Anya, Alicia, Ashley—reached out and were exceptionally helpful. All the Staff at MTTI are very much ‘people persons’. By showing that they cared, they helped motivate me to go to back to, and stay in, school. Having come to this a little later in life, I have the drive to be an Electrician. Nothing is going to stop me this time.
Photos: Craig at a worksite where Izzo Electric & Son, Inc. is wiring, from start to finish, an office building; and at the graduation ceremony held at Chelo's Restaurant in East Providence.
“Before coming to MTTI, I launched and grew the use of PC networks at a manufacturing company to over 300 systems. I trained employees to use software, deployed software throughout the enterprise, and set up a Computer Training Center. I come from a family of teachers, so I knew that teaching can be incredibly rewarding. When MTTI offered me the opportunity to teach, I was excited to meet the challenge.”
“I enjoy helping people connect with new and exciting careers. Teaching is an opportunity to see students grow into careers where they can make better lives. I like that I am continuously learning. New technology interests me; I do some technical reading every day.”
“Computers--like cars—are immensely powerful. Both multiply basic human functions, and let us go somewhere. Playing computer games takes us into a virtual reality. Computers store more information than we can ever know by ourselves. Computer networks enable us to instantly see things in the world and communicate with each other.”
“Some positions are repetitive; others present new challenges every day. Certain ones offer the opportunity for travel; one MTTI graduate has visited over 60 countries as a Technology Instructor for his company. The wide range of IT opportunities provides a good fit for different temperaments; people can choose positions with a lot of person-to-person interaction or ones in which they will work behind-the-scenes.”
“Once enrolled, the Instructor and Career Service Specialist provide on-going career development. When a graduate returns to speak with current students—and tells them he or she has been working for so many years—students can recognize this is for real. They see that the grad was once in their shoes. It dispels anxiety a student may have about launching a new career.”
“Twice yearly Program Advisory Committee meetings help us stay current with evolving technology. Employers and industry specialists review our course curriculum, text books and even observe students working on assignments in the computer lab. The good graduation and placement rates for our program let us know we are helping people get hired into rewarding opportunities.”
“If you have the inclination for an IT career it’s a good time to get into it. We have many graduates who are doing well in the industry. As their former instructor, it is a good feeling to see them able to buy a house, have a family and have a good career.”
I earned a Certificate of Completion in Criminal Justice, but recognized that conventional schooling isn’t for me. I’m happier when I’m working.
My oldest uncle—my father’s brother—is in the sheet metal business. My grandfather has been a Tin Knocker, specializing in roofs. When my mom saw advertisements for MTTI, we visited the school. Seeing the Building Trades shop and meeting the Instructors, I knew this was the right program for me. Once in the program, I enjoyed everything about it and learned a lot.
Before we started to build the house module, we drew up blueprints so we understood what was going to work—and how it would work. We also thought about what we could do to fix any problems we might encounter.
If you didn’t understand something, they would go step-by-step—explaining what to do first and what would happen after that. In the plumbing unit, they explained how water travels through pipes, where it would go, which tubes it would go through, where a shut-off was closed and what that shut-off valve would stop.
They were accepting of everyone and encouraged everyone to work well with one another. The module we built came out fantastic!
The people in my class were resilient—no matter how big or small a problem we encountered, they wouldn’t give up until it was fixed. I think a lot of my classmates are going to do really well in the workforce.
I volunteered to be the crew leader for the plumbing installation in the house module we built. I began contacting plumbing companies for an internship. Erin in Career Services contacted Phillips Plumbing and Mechanical; I interviewed with the owner, John Phillips. We decided to give the internship a chance.
I was sent out with the Master Plumber. My boss’s wife, Linda, who manages the day-to-day operations, told me I have a lot to learn, but that she could see I have a yearning to learn. They value that I am willing to learn what I need to do to get the job done well. During my third week of internship, Linda told me the company was hiring me.
Once I am licensed in plumbing, I will always have a job. Plumbing seems to me to be to be the safest of the trades, compared with electrical and carpentry, which have more risk. Plumbing is not simple or easy—but more straightforward to understand. Certain aspects are more mechanical. It can be as simple as ‘some parts are loose—apply pipe dough and thread seal tape to tighten it’. Or it can be more involved. During my second week of internship, I worked about 12 hours on a job re-piping a steam heat exchanger. Another job took about 14 hours, running an entire PVC system to another part of the basement.
It requires taking good measurements and conceptualizing where parts will go. When we arrive on-site, and see the problem, we are thinking: ‘how are we going to fix it?' I’m learning from good people—Master Plumbers and Apprentices with more experience than I have. I am working towards my Journeyman’s License in RI and MA. I’ll do additional education starting in the fall. I want to be successful.
I’ve learned it’s more important not to rush the job—but to do it right. I am working to become very efficient. One way to get things done in a timely manner is to be organized. I clean out the back of the truck for the person I am working with—they often don’t have time. I make sure all the parts and pieces they’ll need are organized in bins. By reading what is written on the bins I can quickly get what they need—and make the job go faster.
I’m building experience so that I can think back on what we did to fix something in the past—maybe this new job will be similar. Watching people I work with—seeing them go through the steps to figure out what isn’t working and then fixing it—is really teaching me the trade.
Every job will have a challenging moment, or occasionally a tough day. I’ve seen my parents have problems at work—but I’ve also seen them face those problems to find solutions. They’ve taught me resilience—how to stay with it and work through problems. If you know your career is the right one for you, you'll go back the next day and say, ‘I like what I do’.
Now I have an actual career—something I can be proud of. MTTI is a fantastic school to learn the trade you are interested in—and in a short amount of time. By the time you leave, you will feel excited about, and proud of, what you have accomplished.
They value quality of service and getting the job done right. They have seven plumbers working for them—always making sure the customer is happy by clearly communicating to each one what they have done to fix the issue.
The program curriculum at the community college interested me, but sitting at a desk and writing all day wasn’t appealing. I wanted to be out there, doing jobs with my hands. If your experience in high school or college has been similar to mine—or if you are not happy in the career you have, why do it? To enjoy life, you need to be happy with the work you do.
You’ll be proud of what you do. I’ve really enjoyed my time at MTTI—and now really enjoy working for Phillips. If you want to learn hands-on any of the trades, MTTI is the place to go.
Photos were taken in the Building & Property Trades Technician Shop at MTTI & during Graduation at the Riviera Restaurant in East Providence.
I’ve always had a bike, except when I was in the military. I was also good at working hands-on. In high school, they didn’t have motorcycle training, so I took an automotive tech program.
Another dream of mine was that I had always wanted to be a Marine. After four years in the military, I got hurt. I was honorably discharged. I felt fortunate that the military pays for veteran’s education.
Unfortunately, a program like MTTI’s didn’t fit the criteria for funding at that time. My coordinator thought that, based on my background and disability, I was a good fit for a career in criminal justice. With half a knee, they thought that being an Environmental Police Officer would be more appropriate than becoming a Patrolman.
There are a limited number of positions for Environmental Police. It was easier to get a position with an Environmental Science Degree. Criminal Justice came easily to me; it was structured and quasi-military. I did well. My passion just wasn’t there for Environmental Science. I thought that a career in law enforcement would be like being in the Marines; but after seeing how Environmental Police really work, I felt it wasn’t the right career for me.
I was working on cars at home. You have to get up and down to repair or maintain cars—it is hard physical work. My knee injury disqualified me from getting funding to enroll in an automotive training program.
I told her I wanted to rebuild motorcycles, work from my home and be able to get my kid off the bus when he comes home from school. She said “Do what matters to you and be happy—you’ve already lived a stressful life.” She told me to find a school to train as a motorcycle technician.
If you can wake up to go to work—but feel like you are not really going to work—isn’t that the best way? And, when you work in the motorcycle industry, you get to ride what you build.
In under 4 seconds, a motorcycle can go from 0 – 100 miles an hour—it is something! You can buy a bike shipped in a box from Japan; it comes out of the box at almost 190 miles per hour. A bike’s performance is exhilarating—get on a bike, and everything else disappears.
That’s what is so good about MTTI—you are actually doing it. In the Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician shop, you have every specialty tool you will need—the correct tool that you will need to do the job. You learn the right way to do things, before you go out to work. You are working on a motorcycle—it’s someone’s life.
I often asked questions that were beyond what we were learning in class. Gary and Billy were always able to answer—or they would find out the answer to my questions.
They were all great, and I learned a lot from them. You can work for some mentors, who answer when you ask, ‘Who cares—just fix the part.’ But knowing why a part failed can be preventative. It teaches you what to look for. You may see it again a bunch of times of times and, when you do, you’ll know what to do. Gary and Billy always explained the ‘why’.
Some things have to be by the book; some things need the right tool. But if that tool, or going by the book, doesn’t work—there are ‘backyard mechanics’—people who fix things from their experience. They make it happen—fixing it in a different way and making it right. Gary and Bill are both amazing mechanics. They teach from their vast experience—and do it with patience.
You might know how to do something—know what the best choice is. Knowing the theory and how to diagnose something makes you a better mechanic. But there is something beyond these. There’s a feeling just before the bolt snaps. Or you may feel a binding resistance on something that should be spinning something else. It may only be a subtle difference. Over time you learn to feel things through your hands. You can only learn this if you are actually doing the work.
I’m so excited that, as I graduate, Gary is letting me work right next to him at Bettencourt’s. You can’t buy the kind of knowledge I am learning from him. The amount I will be continuing to learn about how to do things correctly and efficiently is priceless.
Before I got here, because I worked on cars, I thought I knew a lot about motorcycles and small engines. But the in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience I got in The Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician program is more than I expected. Why does something work? Why does a part go on that way? There’s a lot more to repairing or re-building motorcycles than you would think. They are fine-tuned machines. You can get a motorcycle to run—but to get it to run at its peak performance is something else.
Photos were taken in MTTI’s Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician shop and at graduation with Cale's Instructors, Billy Barry (left) and Gary Simcock (right).
I grew up on Aquidneck Island in Newport. During the past four years, I fished commercially—lobstering and long-line fishing. We’d go out to sea for 30 days at a time. Every day I’d set up lines; we’d put about 1,000 hooks in the water to catch tuna or swordfish.
Fishermen get 10% of the catch and a 1099 at the end of the year. Taxes are not taken out of paychecks; you have to pay them to the government all at once at the year’s end.
I’ve always been mechanically inclined. I started thinking about combining the knowledge I’d gained from working on the water with my mechanical background. Most important, I wanted to have a career—not just a job. I felt ready to take the next step.
The school has a reputation for being ethical and financially responsible. The tuition is less than ½ the price of other marine programs I could have attended—and I knew I would come away from MTTI with a really good background.
The course material was good. Don is a really good instructor. He doesn’t talk ‘at’ you; he helps you understand the information—not just learn it on paper.
Don showed us how to do something, and then we would physically get to do it. Reading the text first helps, but you get a real grasp of the skill when you actually do it.
He taught us stick and mig welding. When you asked him a question, he would break it down and give you all of the fine details. I thought it was cool that, even though this is not a welding course, when we expressed interest, Ward taught us the basics.
Employers you meet during internship and job search look at you as a potential hire and long-term employee.
One day, while sitting in the classroom eating lunch, Don was on the phone with Paul Dow, the Service Manager of the Mechanical & Electrical Department at Safe Harbor NEB. Don knew that I wanted to intern there. He asked me if I wanted to interview with Paul. I said ‘yes’ and after school that day, I went to see him.
He introduced me to the guys in the Tech shop. I spoke with two Techs: Adam, who is a 2001 MTTI Graduate, and Drew. They gave me an idea of what it is like to work at Safe Harbor NEB—and what would be expected of me.
It is a fast military assault craft, originally developed for the Swedish Navy. Although smaller, they are high-powered boats. They are used around the world to patrol river systems. The one we are working on was built for the US Navy and is now being repurposed for R&D by a local company.
My goal is to go beyond pleasure boats and to work in the commercial aspects of the industry. I can do that at Safe Harbor NEB; even the pleasure boats here are more complex.
Seven months could change your life forever, at a good price compared with everyone else. My grandfather said to me: ‘7 months, that’s a piece of cake’. It flew by. When your mind is constantly working, you don’t have time to look at the clock. You get out of the program, what you put into it.
I’m happy I waited a few years after high school, until I turned 24. I got so much more out of it. This is my first job with good benefits. Now I’m thinking about looking at a mortgage.
This is the career I want. Starting school, I told myself, ‘I’m going to do what I have to, because this is going to set up the rest of my life.’ I can see myself in the position of a Marine Technician, and see a good future in it. The Marine Service Technician program at MTTI set me up to work where I want to— I am happy to be working at Safe Harbor New England Boatworks.
My family always did their own work; my Father is a hands-on DIY guy. While still in my teens, I did side work for friends and family.
I was 16 and only had a learner’s permit. My father and I put in an engine, transmission and brakes. Together we did body restoration, wiring and interior work. I built a race car out of that Camaro.
Eventually I sold the car, but started thinking about training at an auto tech school. I didn’t know anyone who had gone to MTTI; I found the school online. After visiting two other schools, I chose to enroll at MTTI
Of the three schools, my tour at MTTI was the most productive. I was able to go into the shop, meet the instructors and learn about what I would be doing in the program. The program length was shorter (7-months full time) and the price was lower. After graduating high school, I had a month off, and then I started the Automotive Service Tech program.
Arturo, Rich and Glen are good teachers. They were easy to get along with, relatable and they communicated well. I always had someone to help me in the shop and to answer my questions
Tasca was hiring. When I interviewed for an internship; they hired me on the spot. I started my internship working downstairs in Express, observing or working alongside a Technician.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to do more varied work. Working with the foreman on a range of tasks is teaching me a lot. We’ve worked on an engine---replacing the water pump and timing belt—and on a transmission. I’ve also done some exhaust work by myself.
I had never worked with anyone before, except my Dad. During the first weeks, I needed to get to know and get along with the other Techs—and make sure I didn’t mess up! The guys I work with are friendly. If I ask a question, someone will know the answer and will tell me. Tasca Ford is a great place to work!
I had to drive a 50K big truck into the tight corner bay where I work. Seems like I always get the big trucks to work on! I’m getting good at that. I do a lot of oils changes, tire changing, mounting and balancing, minor diagnostic work and recalls. To replace airbags, I take out the whole dashboard, install the new airbag and put the dashboard back together.
There is more complexity in an actual shop than at a school. We had some practice working with repair orders at MTTI, but Tasca has a different computer system, and their own way to handle repair orders.
The most challenging part of MTTI’s program was learning about the electrical system and diagnostics. It was good preparation, because the change to electric cars is an opportunity for growth. Technicians today actually exert themselves less physically. Instead they need a good understanding of how vehicles work, and how to diagnose them—not just turning a wrench to fix them.
Attending MTTI was well worth my time and money. I now have a greater knowledge base to help me grow in the industry. I’ve made new friends at school, and now at work. I’ve become a more knowledgeable, confident and efficient Auto Service Tech.
Going to MTTI got me my first job—more than just a job, training at MTTI has given me a new career. If you are interested in working on cars for a living, MTTI is a good option; the program will get you started at a higher level in the automotive field.
Photos: Jarett in MTTI’s Automotive Service Technician shop; Instructor Glen Verduchi displaying Jarett’s Gold Wrench Award, given for the combination of academic and shop skills, plus excellent attendance in the program.
“I can’t say enough great things about Kayla. If I could just clone her! In five years, I’ll be training Kayla on office management skills—I’ve even started to show her some now. If Kayla wants to, in the future, she can be managing a specialty practice.” —Donna Manchester
“I wanted to make a better life for myself and for my daughter. My mom works in the medical field—she started out as a CNA and Medical Assistant. I decided to go to school to prepare for a medical career. “
“I am grateful to my parents, who helped by caring for my daughter while I was in class. I enrolled in the part-time evening program. I could go into school early to get extra help from my Instructor, or study right before an exam.”
“I worried, ‘What if I don’t get it right, and hurt someone?’ After first practicing on the ‘fake arm’ and then on another student, drawing blood felt natural. Another surprise was that, although I didn’t like needles as a patient, I really liked giving injections clinically—especially when I realized that I was able to make people comfortable during the procedure.”
“I used all of the skills I had been taught at school. I gave injections, performed tests (flu, mono, strep) and administered nebulizer treatments. The Urgent Care went through a lot of changes; after they left the Blue Cross Network, patient flow slowed and I was laid off. “
“They were looking for a Medical Assistant. I thought I might want to work at another urgent care. When I interviewed and was offered the position, I jumped at the opportunity to work for a top Rhode Island Neurosurgeon.”
“Working in a neurosurgery practice, I’ve learned a lot about surgical procedures, the brain and the spine. I’ve had the opportunity to see diagnostic images of a brain tumor and disk extrusions. As in any new Medical Assistant position, I’ve had to learn more terminology for the specialty practice I work in.”
“I enter patient demographics and document the encounters, schedule appointments and surgeries. I go into the rooms with patients to take their histories and vital signs. We use eClinicalWorks EHR (Electronic Health Records), which I had begun learning at Barrington Urgent Care. I did have to learn how the Doctor and the team like to do things—that is always specific to the practice. Donna has been great to work with and learn from. She’s always there to support me.”
“You might find a ‘clinical only’ position in another Neurosurgery office, where they have patients every day. Dr. Saris and Rodd are in surgery two days a week. On those days, we handle a lot of paperwork—scheduling patient appointments and MRIs, getting surgical authorizations. Everything now requires prior authorization. Some of the billing crosses over, too. Kayla has to know all of the insurances.”
“Patients may be scared about procedures or may come to us in a lot of pain. I love interacting with patients and comforting them when they are frightened. As a Medical Assistant, I want help patients through their appointment by making them as comfortable as I can. I also want to stay calm and remain professional when a patient is feeling angry.
“The practice’s approach to surgery is conservative. Patients may become upset if we do not immediately schedule surgery.” Donna and Kayla explained, “We won’t prescribe narcotics prior to surgery. We have them go through physical therapy and pain management (with injections) first. If the interventions we refer them to don’t resolve the pain, we’ll order a follow-up MRI and re-evaluate the need for surgery.”
“We try to get the referrals quickly from their primary care physician. We do our best to explain why we recommend they do not have surgery right away. Some patients are happy to have avoided surgery. For those that do have surgery, it’s a great experience to see them feeling better afterwards—to have them be more comfortable in their bodies. I love when I hear them say, ‘I feel great. Thank you so much.’ ”
“I had an Instructor who was always there for you—no matter what you needed. My classmates also helped one another. We all had kids. When we could, we would get together to study. I remain friends with some of my former classmates.”
"I definitely got enough training at school to prepare me for working in a medical practice. I had to work hard to be in school—studying and taking tests—while taking care of a 3-month old. In the end, what I got out of the program was worth every bit of effort I put into it.”
“My boyfriend, daughter and I now have our own place to live. I have a car. I’m able to financially support my daughter and provide everything she needs. At six years old, my daughter is proud of her Medical Assistant mom. She has her own ‘play’ stethoscope. One day, I had my work stethoscope at home. She listened to my heartbeat and tried taking my blood pressure. I recognized then that I am a positive role model for her. Seeing me successful as a Medical Assistant gives her the message that she, too, will be able to make a good life, and one day have a career she loves.”
“MTTI graduates have become a valuable part of our practice. In my experience, MTTI graduates come out of the program with the best training skill sets. I appreciate how you include practitioners and employers in Program Advisory Committee meetings. I like knowing what you are teaching and how you take our suggestions (to continuously update the program). I found it especially helpful at this last meeting to go into the classroom and lab—and see how students interact. I believe MTTI is one of the better schools. I can see how hard all of you work to make it that way.” –Donna Manchester
I was sure that what I was learning in school didn’t apply to what I wanted to do in life.
My first job was at McDonald’s. The following summer, my buddy’s stepdad, Ken, started his own carpentry and painting company. He asked if I wanted to learn a trade. I started by pushing a broom and helping him with demolition. Then he let me paint one door. When he saw how I painted the door, he let me paint intricate trim at all of his worksites.
Being a high school student, I didn’t think much about it at first. It was simply fun. Seeing what I accomplished at the end of each day felt rewarding.
I started learning about framing and using saws. I had no real long-term plans. I hadn’t liked high school, so I wasn’t planning to go to college.
I worked three jobs—in retail, as a cook and as a painter, whenever a job came around. The apartment I shared with my friend and his girlfriend was so small it felt like I lived in a closet.
I believe you have to enjoy every second you are living. Each day, when I came home from work, there was an opportunity for some crazy adventure. One evening, a bunch of us drove 5 hours to New York City just to eat hamburgers at the famous chain restaurant, White Castle.
I thought about what a blast it had been working with Ken—painting and learning about carpentry. My mom searched online for a school and found MTTI. When an MTTI Admissions Rep contacted me to schedule an appointment, I surprised her by saying, ‘I‘ll be there in an hour.’ I showed up, way overdressed in a button down shirt and a tie. Touring the Building Trades shop, I saw a ‘playground’ of saws and tools. I was sold even before I walked through the door.
I’d been thinking about building since the summer I had worked with Ken. My only real experience when I started school was painting and light carpentry. I tend to overthink things. Pat and Don, my Instructors, taught me to take the work out of my head and put it into my hands. They would explain how something is supposed to work. Then they’d show us how to do it. Finally they had us practice the skills hands-on, under their supervision. Once you have all 3 steps, you are usually ready to do it on your own.
The Instructors played the part of foremen on the job. They would say, “The board that you just cut incorrectly is a $300 piece of trim.” I learned a lot from my mistakes, by seeing how Pat and Don would get around them. They taught us how to recognize our mistakes, fix them—and most important, to take pride in our work.
Understanding which tools will give the outcome you want tells you what to set up for the job. That gets you one step closer to working efficiently—because time is money. You need to be 100% focused in carpentry—plumb, level square, straight—make sure everything is perfect or every person on the site is going to know.
Some people came to the program thinking they only want to be a plumber or an electrician. They learned all about that one field and just got by in the others—then figured out at the end that it’s not the field they most want to work in. Carpentry is my passion—but on the job, I’ve had to wire things or understand how the plumbing or HVAC works. It makes me a better carpenter to know about all of the trades, and helps me plan ahead for our subcontractors.
I was ready to build something. I started by doing a lot of demos, mixing concrete in a wheel barrow, digging ditches and pushing a broom. You have to pay your dues as an apprentice—everybody has had to do it at the beginning of their career.
During my first weeks, the foreman needed a couple of minutes to mill a piece of finish work. I thought I had better go clean something to stay busy. Bob, the owner of Spagnolo Homes and craftsman of 30+ years asked me, “What are you doing? We’ll clean this up later. We have a lot of trim to do—hop on it, so we can get it done.” I asked, ‘I can do that?’ He replied, “What do you mean? That is your job.” After that, I hopped on jobs I knew needed to be done, and cleaned up at the end of the day.
The owners, Bob and Sherry are very personable. Bob, is easily one of the best carpenters I’ve met and is willing to teach me. He gives me tips and pointers on how to do things faster—then watches me. If I do it right, he’ll say, “You’ve got it!” It gives me the opportunity to truly learn my trade. Working at Spagnolo Homes, I am honing my skills, speed and efficiency. I am coming into my own style of working.
Shortly after I was hired, I worked on a deck. I began to see that I was really doing carpentry. Not long after that, someone at a bar, where I had once worked at night as a cook, asked me what I do for work. Without hesitation, I answered, ‘I am a carpenter!’ I was excited to recognize that it’s true—I really am a carpenter!
I went from being a kid who would come home looking for adventure, to being a professional tradesperson—who sometimes brings my work home with me. This can feel stressful—but my level of interest makes me know I am pursuing a career, not just a job.
If I am working on something new, I’ll read engineering notes or watch a You Tube video to expand my understanding. In a house, everything abides by laws of physics; I try figure out how it works and what will be the best way to tackle it. Once I have a good idea of how I will approach it, the next day on the job I notice my stress level has dropped.
I worked 5 nights a week—until 3 or 4 am—and got to school by 8:30 am. It took sheer force of will to push forward some days. I am glad I took a lot of notes—it helped me remember what I had been taught. My classmate Caleb also worked a full-time job, and he had a wife and son at home. If Caleb and I could make it through the program, I have to believe anyone can do it. If you have a passion for the building and property trades—if it is something you really want to do—you can make it happen.
Employers look at you as more than just a worker—you are an investment. When they pay someone at the end of the week, they expect that the money they pay out comes back to them in the work their employee has completed. Although they look for experience when hiring, they want someone who is passionate about what they do. Someone who loves their work is worth more than an experienced person who doesn’t like to do that work.
I have so much appreciation for what I am able to do now—handle a saw, get my hands on the actual building of a house or addition. Pat and Don gave me more than just an education at MTTI. They instilled in me a work ethic and passion for the building trades that makes life worth living.
Photos: Nickerson in front of the addition he is building at Spagnolo Homes; installing lighting in the module at MTTI; accepting his diploma at graduation from Instructor, Pat Church; at the site of the addition being built by Spagnolo Homes.
During 2009, there was a downturn in the economy; the construction company I owned tanked. Recognizing that I had always like working on bikes, my mom pushed me to go to school to train as a Motorcycle Technician.
My instructor, Jay, was awesome. While still in school, I knew I wanted to work on Harleys. Several guys in the class went to Ocean State Harley-Davidson to intern. I went to Sheldon’s.
A lot of Harley-Davidson companies won’t take you unless you have schooling on your resume. Because of my training in MTTI’s program, Sheldon’s offered to hire me before I finished school. I wanted to first complete the program and graduate. Looking back, I know I made the right decision.
At the start, I washed and delivered bikes, got parts, did oil changes and other ‘small stuff’. Once established as a Tech, the company sent me to Harley-Davidson training once or twice a year. After 9-10 years working in the motorcycle industry, I am where I want to be in my career.
The Master Tech training is challenging—Harley-Davidson pushes you to learn. I took live instructor-led classes and also PHD video classes online. The toughest was the Master Electrical class. It is an important part of the training, because H-D bikes increasingly have more electrical components. In some cases, you need to use an oscilloscope to work on the electrical / electronic systems.
Now I recognize that you can make money if you work hard and are willing to learn. It does take some time to build your career in this industry. You have to first get your foot in the door. Provided you have a good work ethic, it will all work out.
Far from being a quiet person, I’m not afraid to yell across the shop. While we’re in the flow, I’ll yell back and forth with my co-workers--we motivate each other. Years ago, another Technician told me that I’m loud when I work; he called me ‘Hammah.’ The name stuck.
Max was working as a Shop Hand, but wanted to become a Technician at Sheldon’s. I told him MTTI is a great school with awesome instructors—and is much less expensive than other Motorcycle Tech schools.
The hands-on program taught me how to apply mechanical theory in day-to-day operations. There is no comparison now to how I felt when I worked in construction. As a Master Motorcycle Technician, I look forward to coming to work each day.
Everyone here works hard but has fun doing it—it’s a great place to work. If you have the heart and drive to work on bikes, it is such a fulfilling career. I advise you to stick with it—it’s worth it.
I was working as a Technician and Assistant Manager at a Valvoline Instant Oil Change, trying to get hired at Sheldon’s Harley-Davidson. In 2016, Sheldon’s hired me as a Shop Hand. I moved bikes around, maintained shop cleanliness and changed motorcycle tires. I drove the truck and trailer for dealership deliveries and pick-ups, and controlled winter storage logistics and inventory.
Chris (known as ‘Hammah’), a 2010 MTTI Graduate who works at Sheldon’s, told me about MTTI's Motorcycle/ Power Equipment Technician program. The program was affordable. I wouldn’t need to relocate; I could work part-time at Sheldon’s while attending school for seven months.
I got along well with the Instructor, Jay, right off the bat. Gary, the Shop Skills Instructor, had lots of knowledge about working on dirt bikes, power equipment and motorcycles. He helped me get the hang of welding.
The book they gave us was helpful. What we learned in the classroom was very relevant to what we did in the shop. Much better than just reading about it, is being able to do it hands-on in the shop.
Whatever help I needed, I got from my Instructors and classmates. Chris has been a mentor to me at Sheldon’s; he’s been more than happy to share his knowledge and experience.
I did my internship at Sheldon’s, and graduated in early May—just as we entered our busy season. By the time I completed the program, I was ready to work 40 hours a week as a Motorcycle Technician.
I began performing preventive maintenance services, tire changes, accessory installation, component replacement, drive train inspection and repair, electrical and mechanical testing and diagnosis.
Working on projects at Sheldon’s, I remembered: ‘I did this at school’. Everything I learned at MTTI I use. You’re paying for school—so you want to be equipped to work at the end. I felt I was well equipped. I enjoyed going to school and got a great foundation. After I was hired, I got a good basic set of tools from MTTI that I could use on the job. It was helpful to have those, instead of having to buy them during the first months.
Anyone who asks, I recommend MTTI, because of the amount I was able to learn. You get out what you put into the program. I showed up every day. I did the homework. It was worth the sacrifice. If I hadn’t gone to school, I would still be on staff at Sheldon’s—but I wouldn’t be working as a Technician on bikes.
"MTTI was a tremendous help to me in pursuing my passion. The Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician program gave me lifelong knowledge—working with the best toys in the world! I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for MTTI."
My Dad saw the old TV commercial with MTTI's Founder, Ward Ring, pushing the motorcycle. He knew that I had always been into motorcycles; he encouraged me to train to become a Motorcycle Technician.
I liked the accelerated program—and the tool bonus I would earn after accepting training-related employment.
When I attended in 2007, MTTI’s program focused on metric bikes. The Harley part of the program was not as in-depth as it is now—but one of the first jobs I got after graduating was at Precision Harley-Davidson.
I’m a hands-on learner, so practicing in the shop what we learned in the classroom worked for me. We were graded on our notes—and I still have the text book we used in class.
Doc asked who wanted to do a tune-up on the BMW. No one raised their hand—so I volunteered. It was awesome working hands-on alongside Doc. He taught me all of the nuances that the old BMWs had.
From Precision Harley-Davidson, I worked as a Tech at Mom’s South, and then went to a smaller shop in Methuen, MA. I left there to be closer to home, so that I could help my wife develop her production company as a playwright (photography and film). I still did side work on bikes.
I worked as the Parts Manager for MTR Racing and then came to work here. Sheldon’s has been around since the 1920’s; they know how to do things. When I came to Sheldon’s with my Dad, while shopping for a bike, I knew right then that I wanted to work here. The guys here are awesome.
The ’98 Suzuki Intruder was about 18 years old. The part I needed had been discontinued—two different carburetors didn’t match. I was tired of encountering problems with other brands of bikes. Harleys are more straightforward; there are no frills, but they get the job done.
I like the simplicity of Harley-Davidson bikes, engines and frames. I’ve met wonderful people in the Harley-Davidson Community—more than during all of the years working on metric bikes.
I gained a lot of knowledge—first from MTTI. Then the passion I have for the industry fueled more learning over the years. Every customer is a new challenge—not everyone is looking for the same thing. Two customers might both have Harleys but they see the wealth of differences that Harleys have. I love problem solving to help them find just the right part they are looking for.
I ride a ’06 Harley Sportster 1200. I still live in Rhode Island and commute to Sheldon’s in Massachusetts--but I never complain about being on a bike!
I was born and bred in Rhode Island—so going to school in RI—right on the water-- was special to me. MTTI was a tremendous help to me in pursuing my passion. The Motorcycle / Power Equipment Technician program gave me lifelong knowledge—working with the best toys in the world! I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for MTTI.
People coming out of MTTI’s program will not all do the same thing. I built a foundation in MTTI’s Computer & Networking program from which I could, for the past 20 years, enter into new and different careers. Success in technology demands that you keep learning the next platform and new skills. Never become complacent; never stop learning.
I had taken courses towards an Associate’s Degree in Architecture and Mechanical Engineering at Roger Williams College (now University). I wrote abatement plans to submit to the State for clean-up of hazardous materials, including lead and asbestos and also prepared architectural plans, including drafting the layout of pipes.
The RI Department of Labor and Training sent me to MTTI for re-training after being laid off. My wife worked in computers as an IBM specialist, so I saw this as a great career opportunity. DLT agreed to have me train as a Computer Specialist.
It was the beginning of the “power of the right click” and “you’ve got mail”, as people started getting on-line. Voice over Internet Protocol—communication sent over the internet—was not yet widely used. Telephony—the electronic transmission of voice, fax, or data, between distant parties—was big
I had graduated at the top of my class; now it was time to earn my wings.
HP Compaq was selling computer systems to homeowners. My job was to meet the box and set it up, get the owner online, change their desktop and set up the speakers. If needed, I would return to provide more assistance.
I provided Hardware Break Fix, fee-for-service IT solutions to customers. As it took off, I worked out of my home office and my car, backfilling other Techs in Connecticut. I traveled throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York.
These systems were on luxurious yachts, General Dynamic Electric Boat submarines—even a Nuclear Power Plant
Organizations were afraid their monetary systems would go down on December 31st at the stroke of midnight. I was responsible for systems that handled money from London, Tokyo and New York—with transactions in the billions of dollars per day. I upgraded their systems to prepare for the worst—and remained on call at midnight, hoping for the best.
When technology is so new, it has a high risk of being unreliable. Migrating from older established systems to new platforms doesn’t always go well. When things go wrong on an install, you don’t leave the site—you might stay on-the-job for a day or two, until it is fixed.
The exponentially increasing workload was killing my vehicle. Then the company dropped down the reimbursement rate, which took thousands of dollars out of my pocket.
I called my company and said, ‘I’m pulling over to sleep—and I am not coming in tomorrow’.
Throughout my career, I always worked three jobs, including my own landscaping and property management companies. I owned / operated a trailer that dried any space damaged by water and provided restoration services.
Everyone was replacing Category 3 wiring (CAT3) with the faster CAT 5 and CAT 5e (enhanced) for telephone communications and computer networking. I installed and wired everything from routers and switches to desktop computer systems
They were looking for someone self-motivated, who didn’t need much oversight or management.
I became the “one and only technician” for the newly installed E-ZPass Electronic Tolling system on the Newport-Pell Bridge. It was a 7/24, 365-day-a-year responsibility; if it was broken, I went to fix it.
Toll road technology involved video, radio, intercoms, networking, switches and routers, servers and other proprietary systems.
I was responsible for cyber security and maintaining 4 network domains. I supported the RITBA business network, maintained PCI compliance and monitored all network assets.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.
Once shy, I made presentations in Dublin, Ireland and in Louisiana about Cybersecurity and PCI Compliance.
By hiring consultants, and learning what they do, I built on what I had learned at MTTI. I knew enough to work with someone who had Certifications that I don’t possess—for example, CISCO.
‘What the King dreams the hand builds’—I built the systems that RITBA wanted. Buddy Croft, the Executive Director of the RIBTA, was my director; I was his top advisor. I accomplished my mission at RITBA—to deliver to Buddy Croft a state-of-the-art toll collection system.
Truck tolling for RIDOT was coming on board. Having operated, maintained and updated the RITBA system, I was uniquely qualified to manage the truck tolling project.
A new, smaller office, I also function as the Office Manager, Warehouse Manager and Installation Supervisor (executing the project with the Installation Manager).
She was instrumental in researching and selecting our new printer system, and then installing it along with performing a “Windows 10 upgrade throughout the facility”. There’s a lot that goes into choosing printers—the manufacturer, model, speed capabilities and cost.
She proved she could learn quickly. I could ask Taylor to, ‘...build me that Windows install’ or ‘upgrade that coding machine’. It would be done in hours—not days.
As Microsoft moved forward, she helped RITBA move up to Server 2012 and Windows 10
Taylor’s skill set that she developed in MTTI’s program—and her ‘can do’ attitude—recommended her for hire.
It’s my responsibility to give them a chance to enter into a new career path. At Kapsch, my goal is to take on an MTTI graduate.
If someone comes out of MTTI, having learned the basics, they can come learn toll roads—they can travel all over the world.
I review the Computer & Networking program to help the school keep the curriculum current.
Ken knew his systems back then, and in my opinion, after attending this year’s Advisory Committee meeting—he still does. I believe the program keeps pace with the evolving technology.
MTTI’s Computer & Networking program gave me a foundation from which I have been able to enter into new careers, even as technology continues to evolve.
Make MTTI look good. It’s because of MTTI that you are where you are today.
Just as he was hired to work at Bettencourt’s, Nate was injured. Turning disadvantage into opportunity, he built up his knowledge about motorcycle parts. The Parts Department at a Dealership is critical to a good customer experience, as well as to the productivity of the technical service team.
My interest was sparked when I got my first dirt bike on my 8th birthday.
Of course it means you have to fix your bike.
I bought parts at Bettencourt’s. I liked the relaxed atmosphere of the dealership— and that they had a lot of great “toys”.
I recognized I wanted to enjoy the work I would be doing—and motorcycles are what I enjoy.
I started searching and found MTTI; it was affordable. I read the reviews online, and saw that people were happy with the skills they had learned at the school.
I walked into the classroom and saw the display of motorcycle parts hanging on the wall—that really interested me.
I was surprised at how big the shop was, compared to shops in other schools I had checked out. I looked at all of the bikes hanging up, the engines on benches, the tire and welding rooms, and the variety of big tools—all readily accessible for students to work with.
I would get to keep a professional tool set after I verified that I had accepted training-related employment.
MTTI’s Financial Aid department helped me get the payments sorted out and get a low monthly re-payment plan.
I was a little nervous on the first day of school, but the instructors, Jay and Gary were smiling, happy and welcoming.
As much as I valued hands-on learning, I also appreciated leaving with a notebook I built—with notes I took and hand-outs I was given. You can’t always remember everything—more than a year after graduating, I still look things up in my notebook while I am at work.
My instructor, Gary, recommended me for the internship where he works at Bettencourt’s.
It helps to have the people you work with see where you came from, and where you grew to in your skills.
It was a little nerve-wracking to ask whether there was a possibility of hire. As I got closer to the internship’s end, I wanted to make sure I had a foot in the door. He told me I was doing a great job.
I slipped and went over the handlebars of a mountain bike; I broke my collarbone. Because I was injured, I couldn’t do any wrenching.
Bettencourt’s still hired me; I was given a position in the Parts Department. The Parts section is one of the most important departments in a motorcycle shop; everyone goes there—customers, service writers and technicians.
It goes hand-in-hand with every department; if you learn parts, you can work in any other department.
MTTI went over what parts numbers are, and how they work. At Bettencourt’s I had to learn how to integrate part numbers with the bikes, so as to match the correct parts to the right model of bike, and to learn how they are ordered.
When someone comes into the store to buy a part—or the shop mechanic needs a part to fix a bike—I have to find it. At MTTI I learned how they are sorted alphanumerically.
When a customer comes in with a bike needing repair, I take down information to document what isn’t working. The information I write up about why a customer’s bike isn't working tells our technicians what needs to be done—as well as what parts will be needed.
It’s an online tool that lets you find, locate and compare parts that you will buy for motorcycle repair, re-building or restoration.
I have been setting up new bikes, and have begun helping out as a service writer. A service writer has to know parts, to write up what parts are needed and which ones have to be ordered.
Even as a Technician, having knowledge of parts helps get the job done. If a parts person or service writer is not available, the Tech may have to look up and locate the parts.
Graduating MTTI’s Motorcycle Tech program and working at Bettencourt’s makes me feel accomplished. Bettencourt’s is the place I've always wanted to be. I put a lot of work into it—and MTTI helped me get there.
Top photo: Nate at the Parts Counter at Bettencourt's Left photo: Nate with Gary Simcock, his (former) Instructor at MTTI, now co-worker at Bettencourt's
31 S Main St, West Bridgewater, MA 02379
I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I started looking at Automotive programs at the ‘big schools’ in the area.
My dad saw that MTTI offered a Motorcycle / Power Equipment Tech program. We both knew that if I trained to work on automobiles, family members would be asking me to work on their cars for free.
I could see that the course was hands-on. The shop was set up so that everyone would have their own work area and tools.
I hadn’t been a great student in the past. I had to attend summer school every year since the 6th grade. I did just enough work to get by, so I could graduate from high school.
The toughest part of MTTI’s program was learning electrical systems. I struggled. I stayed late with a couple of other students. The extra help from the Instructors got me through.
I liked working with lawnmowers and chainsaws. They are less complex than working on motorcycles—typically only needing a couple of parts to make them work. After internship, I filled out a job application. They had no immediate opening, but I stayed in touch.
I talked with one of my former instructors who worked at Bettencourt’s. They had an open position. Gary encouraged me to fill out an application, and recommended me to the owner, Mark.
Two weeks later, after giving notice at the nursing home where I had worked since high school, I started at Bettencourt’s.
It helped to know how to change tires on different machines. I had learned in school how to rebuild engines—carefully taking them apart, putting them back together—and making them work.
Once I got comfortable learning it at school, it made more sense to me. At Bettencourt’s, we work on the wiring and electronic component s all the time.
We got to work on a wide range of motorcycles in the shop at MTTI. That has helped me explain to customers what’s wrong and what repairs we’ve done to make their bikes work.
The guys here are good to work with—we all get along. I started off slowly, doing oil changes, tires and brakes. The longer I am here, the more I get to do challenging and interesting work.
We help each other. If I can’t figure something out, I can ask someone. We’ll brainstorm about what led to the problem, and talk about how to fix it.
I bought it right before starting school; now I can do everything on it myself.
I tell them that they’ll actually get to work on bikes and power equipment in the shop—not just sit in a classroom and learn out of a book.
Top Photo: Sam with Gary Simcock--his former MTTI Instructor and long-term Motorcycle Technician at Bettencourt's--outside of the
West Bridgewater, MA Dealership.
Middle: Sam, working in the shop at Bettencourt's
Bottom: Sam, with Gary in the background, working in the shop at Bettencourt's
31 S Main St, West Bridgewater, MA 02379
I liked doing it and was good at it.
I lived for 32 years in Utah; we had a couple of lakes, but no bays or oceans. I didn’t know anything about boats beyond the little bit of engine work I had done on cars.
I drove by MTTI in Seekonk and then viewed the website; I saw they offered a Marine Service Technician program. Back in Utah, I called—MTTI sent an application packet, which I completed and returned. On my next visit, during summer 2017, I interviewed and enrolled.
The engine work—which is what I knew as I entered the program--is only a small percentage of what you do.
There’s the A/C, the head, freshwater plumbing, electrical systems. We were introduced to diesel engines at MTTI—they’re not complicated, so learning more about them on the job was easy enough.
My grades were high; half-way through the course, I knew I would do fine.
We had a good class. We all got along, which made it comfortable and easy to work together.
It was organized well, so that when we needed to do something, we knew where to find the right tools.
People sometimes contacted my instructor, Don, or the school owner, Ward, to request maintenance and repairs. We would work on their boats, too.
He broke down how 2-strokes work to help us understand the theory. He knows all about precision measuring and how to machine and bore marine components. We could ask any questions and he would answer.
The MTTI staff was also great. Rick Shaw did a lot to help us with resumes, find internships and search for jobs. He pushed us. He was sometimes a pain in the rear—but for good reason. I like that guy!
The environment in school is more controlled than out at a work place. At school we work in a shop on benches and not so much in boats, which makes it a lot easier to work on the motors. Out in the work field the spaces are a lot tighter and harder to reach.
I’ve always done physical labor production, in which you earn money according to a piece rate bonus. The faster you go, the more pieces you pull—the more money you get paid. It’s repetitive—doing the same thing over and over. I prefer to be thinking about problems and finding solutions—then working hands-on to fix what isn’t working.
I was nervous at first about working on expensive boats—you can’t get them dirty or mess them up.
We were working hands-on with freshwater (plumbing) systems, and then with a transom assembly and drive that we had learned about at school. I began to feel more confident that what we had learned in the program transferred to working on the job.
I open the door to Oceanus in the morning, go out and start working. Even if it is hard, I need to do the work the right way. Don might not know if I didn’t do it right—but I will know—and the customer might recognize that down the road.
Just as the New England water and weather is the opposite of the hot, dry climate in Utah, I am now 180 degrees different than when I was young and responsible only for myself. For the last three years I have been caring for my daughter as a single dad.
I want her to see that, no matter what, you can change your life. As long as you are willing to put in the work, you can do it. No matter what your past was—you can always change your future.
When you change jobs, you have to start at the bottom. As you work up, you earn more. If I was back in Utah I might be making a little more money but I wouldn’t be as happy.
I will be able to give my daughter a better life.
I have no regrets—it was the best decision I made. It isn’t easy to be starting over in my 30’s—moving across the country and raising a daughter on my own.
Going to school helped me learn marine technology quickly and go to work—and I enjoy it.
1 Division St
East Greenwich, Rhode Island 02818
We heard from Justin the other day (June 29, 2020). He tells us that Burr Brothers Boat has been staying busy. “I’m still loving the job, and am very excited that I am doing my first sailboat re-power. The old engine has been removed from the sailboat—and I am getting to install the new engine!" We wish Justin continued success!
“Justin has been a pleasure to work with. His attention to detail and commitment to his craft have made him a great asset to the company. He was trained well, and it showed from his first day on the job.”
Ryan DeCosta, Mechanical Foreman
I was an EMT, first working in EMS, and then in the hospital. I could have gone into nursing and made more money.
I wondered if I could turn my passion for boating into earning a living. I wanted to go to work each day to do something I really enjoy.
I wouldn’t want to be laid off from work each winter.
There are tons of jobs, especially as workers are retiring—and they are year round.
If I was going to spend the money, I wanted a good education—not to leave school with just a debt.
I was impressed when I visited the shop. There were engines everywhere and tools lined up, ready for me to work with. I would even have my own tool bench.
During the program, we didn’t just talk about working on boats. We worked hands-on, taking engines apart, putting them back together and making them run.
I was learning to use tools I had never used before. I had done some maintenance on my own car—but when a boat engine makes a certain sound, or it’s a ‘no-start’ situation, there are so many possibilities. We learned how to think through and troubleshoot problems on many different engines and systems.
They provide all services from bow to stern. The boats are beautiful. When I saw online that they were hiring a mechanic, I applied and got an interview. They liked my passion for the marine industry.
The foreman shows me how to do things properly. The company has the potential to send me to factory trainings to earn additional certifications.
Right now we are commissioning boats. We make sure each boat is ready for the customer—turn-key to operate and clean. Going from one boat to another, I check fluids, lights, toilets and navigation systems and make sure couplings are properly aligned and tight. After the boat checks out, we take it out for a sea trial.
Crawling into small spaces to access different essential systems on boats—like water pumps or vacuflush systems—can be difficult. I am learning where all the systems are, and how to gain access to them. Because Burr Brothers tries to keep their technicians on the same customer’s boat year-to-year, I’ll know better next year where things are.
Troubleshooting issues can be a challenge, but it’s totally worth it. Once you find out what’s wrong, it’s like a touch-down.
Each part has to be tested for continuity and sprayed to prevent salt water corrosion. Parts have to fit together with everything touching to meet tight clearance tolerances. When the performance during the sea trial was excellent, I felt proud of what I accomplished.
My instructor and the school owner, Ward, had the experience and patience to show me the steps. Learning to use tools properly, becoming familiar with different fuel systems and steering, and how an engine works, built up my knowledge and experience. If I hadn’t taken MTTI’s program, when asked on the job to ‘check the engine and make sure it is ready to run’, I wouldn’t have known where to start.
Someone is always there to help me do things right. I’m learning a lot—and it is a fun environment. The technology is always changing. It’s a career field in which I will never get bored.
I tell them the gamble to train for a marine tech career paid off—I definitely hit the lottery!
Photo: Mechanical Foreman, Ryan DeCosta with Justin Hart
My dad wanted me to have more opportunity than I would have had in my home country.
I worked on my family’s car and motorcycle. I wasn’t able to get a job in the field, so I had no actual work experience. When I came to this country, I wasn’t comfortable applying to jobs working on cars. If I don’t know how to do something, I am not going to tell you that I do.
Because we were in a predominately Spanish-speaking community, I didn’t need to learn English. I moved to Worcester, Massachusetts and then, when I met my girlfriend, I moved to Providence, RI.
I was paid minimum wage and worked long hours on the night shift.
My dad said that if I didn’t go to school to get an education, I would always work too hard, for too little pay.
When I was driving with my girlfriend, we passed a bus shelter with an advertisement for MTTI’s Auto Tech program. I had checked out another technical school, but their tuition was way too high.
During the program I improved my English skills. Now I have the advantage of being bilingual.
My mother, who was still living in the DR, was killed. When I started class several weeks later, none of my classmates knew what had happened. It was hard, but I wasn’t going to let anything affect my education.
I didn’t immediately sign up for Unemployment Insurance because I went to DR for my mother’s funeral. After I returned to the states, I made a mistake when I filed. Until I could get it fixed, I had to work all night as a delivery driver for a pizzeria. I only got three hours of sleep, which affected my academic grades.
At least my hands-on skills were always good—I know how to grab a wrench. But I wished I could have had better test grades.
A few of my classmates had some mechanical experience. A lot of the students grew up gaming on PlayStation, but had never held a wrench. By the end of the program, all of us could work on cars.
Glen has lots of experience; he could always answer my questions.
I work in the Quick Lane, changing oil, flushing brakes and transmissions, changing headlight bulbs, balancing tires and doing alignments. I am fresh out of school, so I’m learning a lot from different situations I encounter on the job.
When customers come in with a problem, I can help them more easily and quickly.
I’m careful about how I work, because this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. By building trust with my supervisors, they will give me opportunities to grow. I have the patience to learn and put in the practice. Without practicing you’ll never be good at anything.
Glen taught me a routine and I always follow the steps. Before changing the oil, look to see if the ‘check engine’ or oil light is lit on the dashboard. I record the mileage. I leave the key in the ignition, but roll down the window; if the car automatically locks, I can still get in. When I have to figure out how to do something while the customer is waiting for their car, I don’t let pressure make me do things wrong.
Starting out, it is less time and money to get a technical education. I was able to start earning a living when I graduated. When I am ready, I will be able to pay for college to get an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Maybe I’ll get a business degree so that I can manage a dealership in ten years.
I know someone who went to another school—he has big loans. We work together, we do the same thing, but he has a bigger loan to pay back.
It’s not that big here. It is friendly—everyone knows each other.
If I hadn’t come to school, I would have been stuck in a factory job. When I worked in a factory, the workers weren't valued. They could treat us poorly, because if we quit, it was easy for them to hire other workers who would accept the pay and poor working conditions.
I no longer have to work long hours on the night shift, or be obligated to regularly stay extra time. I’m not hurting my body by working so hard physically.
You need an education in life. If you are educated, you can still be a guy who has street smarts—but you will be a guy who can make a better living.
“Jean is an employee who always has a great attitude and is always open and willing to learn more about our products and company. His tenacity is a reflection of the type of people we need in this industry. MTTI has given Jean a great foundation for his education. His work ethic and skills are a mirrored image for what MTTI states they can produce.” — Donald Benoit, Founder/Owner of ABR Mechanical
After my mom died, I lived with my dad. I met the woman I eventually married in Haiti. When she returned to Haiti after living for a while in the US, we married; we’ve been together for sixteen years and married for seven.
Our goal was that each of us would have good jobs. We made a plan to help each other go to school to train for careers.
I would support my wife, so she could learn to become a medical biller and coder. Once hired, she would ask for additional work hours to cover our living expenses, so that I could go to school.
I saw that the school is not far from where I live in Fall River, MA. I met with Susan, the Admissions Representative, and then interviewed with Ash, an HVAC/R Instructor. I knew it would be difficult for my wife while I went to school. But she said to me, “Just go”.
I worried about my wife having to work extra hours, and how tired she was when she came home.
I liked learning hands-on in the lab to wire electrical components. I was very excited to be learning about oil. Ash showed us how to clean the nozzle, take it apart, and how to fix it. We also took apart all of the parts of the motor—and then put it back together.
I wouldn’t want to go to a school where we didn’t go into the lab; I learn by working with my hands. Ash would explain in the classroom, and then say, ‘Let’s go into the lab. Put your hands on it—do it.’ That’s what I like best at MTTI.
He told me, ‘I know you are not from here and your first languages are French and Creole. I’ll speak slowly, so that you can understand me.’
Sometimes when I didn’t understand something, Jason would explain it and work with me on it in the lab.
The airbag exploded in my face and injured my eyes. I missed a whole week of school.
I woke up each day at five am to take my wife and kids to work and school. When class ended, at three pm, I would pick up my kids and wife to bring them home.
A friend of mine lent me his car, so that I could go to work.
After internship, my boss said, ‘You’re not going anywhere, Jean.’ I stayed on and received a pay raise.
He thinks Ash is a good man. Don told me, ‘Ash knows what he is doing. If he was your teacher, you’ll be good. If your friends were taught by Ash, they will be good, too.” My boss asked me to send friends from school; he wants to hire more MTTI graduates!
I laugh and tell them, ‘The money doesn’t smell like oil. The pay is really good!’
I say, ‘It’s not that long—only seven months. You can make it through!’ I’ve already sent two people I know to MTTI.
She said, ‘I told you to go to school. Now you are happy working and you are making good money.’
I thank my wife and my teacher, Ash; Erin in Career Services and Susan in Admissions;, my classmates—and all of the MTTI employees who were so helpful. I thank all of my friends who supported me, and my boss, Don, for hiring me. Thank you, MTTI! Thank you, God!
Contact: Donald Benoit, Owner
“ABR Mechanical is a full-service heating, repair, service and installation company. We specialize in oil heating systems for both residential and commercial properties with an authorized Clean Energy Division for waste oil furnaces.”
123 Washington Street #5
Foxborough, MA 02035
Colleges are academic schools. I took a broad range of courses, including computer programming and networking, game development, computer information systems and computer forensics.
I still would not have been able to repair a computer, because I would not have worked on one.
I had experience providing Customer Care, and also as an Assistant Manager in an electronics store. I was doing some freelance work in IT Support / PC Support and Repair—mostly for friends and family. But I felt my work life was going nowhere.
I saw MTTI advertised on a billboard—once, twice. I told myself, that if I saw it three times, I was going to ‘go do it’—check this place out. After I saw MTTI on another billboard in a different location I made a visit to the school.
During the 7-month program I gained experience installing, troubleshooting and repairing PCs. I learned to support and configure Apple iMac/iPad and Android; and did some networking.
Putting together a computer from scratch, I learned a lot about the components. I was excited knowing that after going to work, I would be able to keep the computer.
First he explained thoroughly everything we were going to do in the lab. Then he would have us do it ourselves so that we really learned it. If I didn’t understand something, he didn’t make me feel ‘wrong’; he re-directed me to the right information.
We gained additional experience from installing, troubleshooting and repairing devices that people brought to us. I installed a new hard drive on one laptop. For another laptop, while troubleshooting the display port on the monitor, I identified that a broken bezel was causing the LCD to not function.
When I began the program, I was my own first client—my personal computer was infected!
I got a lot of hands-on experience at the corporate level—employers look for this kind of experience. Working on Active Directory was big; you have to get it up and running to have security. I learned more about setting up Users and Group Policy; Wide-Scale Operating System (OS) Imaging; and Deployment of Thin Clients.
I set up new hires for the Department of Administration and Human Services, provided IT Support to the back-end of the system, and Help Desk Support to employees. I became confident using the IT Ticket system to look into problems, and then responding to them. You have to know what you are doing when working at the corporate level of the State—there is no room for mistakes.
While I was interning, my Career Services Rep, Shawn, sent me a link to apply for this great position.
I had to pass state and national background checks, a drug test, intensive financial scrutiny and a telephone interview with a State Trooper. The process took longer, and was more in depth than is typical for many other positions. The Gaming Commission is vigilant about looking for fraud, larceny and bankruptcy.
I had the pleasure of learning from the first Slot Technician at this facility; he taught me a lot.
The hands-on experience of putting together a computer, and learning the components, was great preparation for my work as a Slot Technician. It is top priority when a machine malfunctions to quickly repair it—particularly when a patron is using it.The Casino wants customers to have a good experience and to enjoy themselves.
Often, I’ll open a slot machine to repair the problem, while the patron is right next to me. I might repair a fan, re-boot the voucher machine, repair a jammed lock, adjust the reels or calibrate the touch pad screen. Once I needed to re-solder a wire that was crimped and had broken.
Fortunately, I like going out on the floor and engaging with patrons. I enjoy going above and beyond to provide help to customers.
The staff is awesome—attending MTTI is different than college. Staff here say ‘good morning’ and ask ‘how you are doing?’ ‘Do you need technical assistance?’ ‘How’s your job search going?’ The resume writing workshop and practicing mock interviews made us workforce ready. What college would do all of that?
MTTI offers very extensive hands-on training. If you come to school and apply yourself, there are more than enough resources to get employed—MTTI knows what employers want. I recommend this school to anyone who is looking forward to starting a new career.
Photos of Ash at his worksite are courtesy of Plainridge Park Casino.
301 Washington St, Plainville, MA 02762
Phone: (508) 576-4500
Photo above (left to right): MTTI graduates Brandon Lawrence, Al Rodrigues, Tony Lombardo, George Langevin, Bryan Ferreira, Brendan Dumican.
“We consider MTTI more a partner in the trade than a school. They actively seek feedback from contractors to make the program more effective and really tune in to the needs of the industry. Their graduates are well-prepared with practical knowledge and the skills needed to get started and hit the ground running. MTTI has really helped us find quality people to join our team. Everyone there is genuinely invested in the success of each student.”
—Aaron Lawrence, Owner & Service Manager / Sales Manager
Brandon explained, “The Company understands that people right out of school don’t know everything. It’s easier to teach MTTI grads because they come with good basics, so they can be taught our standards. We don’t want a customer’s job to ‘look good from our house’—we want it to look as good as if their house is our home.”
“I like working in service because you meet so many people and see so many pieces of equipment. You troubleshoot and do a lot of thinking and problem solving. If you like to engage in a chess match every time you go into someone’s home, you’ll like service."
“We see lots of different units; the experience of troubleshooting problems is constantly exciting and challenging. It is awesome.”
“During the summers, while in High School, I worked for my family. I did small tasks like changing filters. In my senior year, I found I liked learning and working with my hands. “
“My dad made it clear that I wouldn’t be sitting around the house—I was going to go to work. They had a job opening, so I thought I might as well go into the family business. Now I thank him for giving me the ‘nudge’ to go into this field!”
“The 7-month program also took the shortest amount of time. I didn’t need a Bachelor’s degree—I needed to learn a lot about this field so I could succeed in it—not to have a ‘fall back’ by completing an advanced college degree. Because MTTI is affordable, I was able to give more than the monthly payment amount. I paid back the remaining school loan in the first two years after graduation. I recently bought my own house.”
“My background included a lot of Customer Service experience. I’m a people person. Before enrolling at MTTI, I worked as an Assistant Manager for a Car Rental business and as a Park Ranger. I also like working on cars and homes—anything mechanical.”
“I was impressed by the graduation and employment rates. It grabbed my attention that employers come to the school to interview and hire students.”
Brandon said, “MTTI gave me the groundwork to understand why things are not working and how to fix them. They taught us how to think things through—‘If the customer is having this problem, look into these areas.’ Brendan added, “Ash is very knowledgeable. What he taught us came from real field experience. I still refer to my course binder and books; they ride in my truck with me every day.”
For Brandon, preparing for interviews translated to improving his customer service skills. “Even though I knew I would be working with the family business, I recognize that I would be worth more to my company if I can keep customers coming back.”
“Because of what my instructors taught me, I can go out in the field and not feel like a ‘deer in headlights’ when a customer asks me a question. Now that I can go out on the road on my own, I know this is what I want to do. I love the industry.”
“It is gratifying to help customers who have had techs that haven’t been able to resolve problems or give them the best service. Lawrence Air believes that an informed customer is a better customer. Instead of ‘dancing’, I can tell them, ‘this is what is going on and this is what I can do.’
“MTTI is a good place to get all of the knowledge you need to go out and work in the industry. When you graduate from college, it is hard to find a job. MTTI assists you in going out to interview at company sites and has great companies coming in to meet students.
Brendan explained, “I started work on the first day scheduled for internship. Lawrence Air is a great family-oriented company—they know how to take care of their employees.”
“We enjoy the camaraderie. We have a similar sense of humor, and like each other’s company when we are working together on the job.”
Brendan said, “HVAC is an amazing industry. I’m really happy with what I am doing. My pay is a lot better than I thought it would be. HVAC is high tech—even thermostats today operate on WIFI. Training at MTTI to work in this industry is the best choice I could have made.”
Lawrence Air Systems is a leading provider of high efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning installation services. The company is family-owned, family-run company serving Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts since 1973.
Contact: Aaron Lawrence
1590 Fall River Ave
I love my job and the people I work with. Working with technology at WGBH is an awesome job. I got to work with computers and networks for seven months at MTTI and now I have my dream job. I am happy and content—and making a good living.
I had always imagined that journalism would be my life-long career.
I have a fair number of computers—and a network—at home. I was always the guy my family would call when they had computer problems.
It was scary to think about being back in a classroom. I worried about having to study and take tests again.
Ken and Boris are more than willing to answer questions. They’ll work with you on subjects until you understand them.
To prepare for in-class tests and the two CompTIA A+ Certification exams, I created a worksheet. I listed the areas in which I was weak. And I took practice tests. When I got into the room to take the A+ tests, there were no surprises. These certification exams were easy for me. I was surprised when, at the program’s completion, I received the Award for Highest Academic Average.
I sent in the application one morning, and they contacted me that afternoon. The Tier One position at Cox was a great way to polish my customer service skills.
You have to pay your dues. The six months I spent at Cox was the last piece of the puzzle to get me the job at WGBH. Those months I spent on the phone dealing with both ‘good’ and ‘difficult’ customers were very valuable.
My tasks at WGBH are different each day. Unlike other jobs where you are setting up 30 laptops for a department, each day brings new problems to solve. This is not a problem if you are well trained.
I am the bridge between technology vendors and WGBH’s Public Media Management customers, nine national public television stations: Boston, Springfield, New Hampshire, Detroit, Alabama, Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arizona.
Working on the Public Media Management Project demands knowledge of computer networking. It’s also helped that I can open up a computer and work on the components.
I am confident using the cabling skills in the server room at WGBH. If I didn’t have the job at WGBH, I could be happy running cables—there is a certain amount of ‘Zen’ in doing that and in wiring punch-down blocks.
You make sure each station has a signal. When possible, we are proactive—by knowing the system and its weaknesses, we can look for things that might go wrong.
I play out files to make sure audio and video are in sync, and to ensure there are no drop-outs in satellite records.
An alarm will sound if there is no picture or sound. It might just be the fading in and out of scenes; or the playlist may have stopped. If the channel is black, I can remotely reroute a satellite feed to get them back on the air while I troubleshoot the problem.
If a computer dies or software crashes, we try to get them back on the air in less than five minutes. I work to get the channel back on the air, then I can do the ‘deep diving’ to find out what is wrong and fix it.
When there is a problem, I start the process of fixing it. If it is not fixed on my shift, and I hand it off, I will find out later how it was resolved. I learn from that. If it happens again, I will know what needs to be done, so it can be fixed more quickly.
My supervisor will say, ‘Hey, Paul, can you write up this procedure?’ They recognize that I can do that.
If you want to change careers, look at your hobbies and interests. If you enjoy something as a hobby, you are halfway there.
When my career in journalism was declining, I wasn’t getting raises.
After I was laid off, Ward encouraged me to pursue my computer interests as a career. Now I feel I am embodying what Ward always says, ‘Life’s more fun doing something you enjoy’.
I came to MTTI in a roundabout way. I always thought I wanted to be a police officer. I have a learning difference—I’m dyslexic. While I was supported in High School, I struggled at the Community College.
The job was technical, numbers-based and physical. It was also very hands-on equipment-based.
I was hit by a truck while working on the side of a road and was out of work for three years. During that time I had four shoulder surgeries. Eventually it was decided that my shoulder was partially disabled.
By 2010, I knew that I couldn't go back to work as a surveyor; the job was too physical. I figured working with computers was my next best career opportunity.
I walked off the street and took the A+ Certification exam with no preparation and passed. Unfortunately, with no actual experience, I found I couldn’t get an interview.
I wanted the hands-on piece for technology without the traditional college courses.
Because I had already earned the A+ Certification, the Instructors, Boris and Ken, agreed to modify my program so that I could prep for the Network+ exam.
I was self-taught before I went to MTTI. The school had the tools I needed to know about and learn to use: cable testers, multi-meters, power supply meters, cable management and software.
What you are taught in the classroom, you work on immediately following in the lab. You see examples of what you just learned in real time—from the whiteboard to the workbench.
Well before my internship was scheduled to begin, I had submitted about 100 different job applications.
My classmates were getting interviews for jobs and internships at various corporate places, but I was looking for something different. I applied to every school in Rhode Island. I had two interviews; Karie at the Wheeler School gave me a chance.
During internship I performed troubleshooting to resolve simple issues. I functioned as a Help Desk to support teachers and staff, the business office and alumni office. I set up new computers and performed troubleshooting for the network.
I kept coming back, as if I were a full time employee. In September the (former) Headmaster worked to get me hired as an employee. “I can’t let you continue to volunteer your time and I can’t let you leave. Everyone likes you too much.” For the next year, they arranged for me to be a ‘paid intern’ until they were able to hire me into a permanent position.
Installing the wireless access device on over 100 systems (including both projectors and TVs) was a big project that has affected almost the entire population at the school. I also helped deploy over 110 Aps (access points). We have four networks that accommodate teachers, students and guests.
The Wheeler School has its own radio station; we partner with WRNI (Rhode Island Public Radio) and Latino Public Radio. I aided in transitioning the old audio only system to a multi-cast platform—video, including livestreaming and recoding of events—all played back from the website. We archive and make accessible to the public videos and radio broadcasts of basketball and baseball games, plays and musicals.
Students work on projects in the new studio, using this video editing computer. Currently they are enjoying a new green screen space. I support the technology and sometimes help with the video productions.
I designed the initial digital signage system that utilized a custom built ‘mini-computer’ to run on each monitor. Administrators, like the Librarian, help provide some content to update the signage every week and I manage the technology.
Learning cabling was a huge plus. I am the only employee at the school who can do that.
I have the confidence in my ability to build any cables. That is a skill that really stands out.
I can take pride in that—that’s my cable—that’s my project.
I appreciate that the school updates the curriculum according to PAC Members’ recommendations.
The program now includes devices that were not in the curriculum when I was a student in 2011-12, for example, iPads, tablets and Chromebooks. I like helping make the program even better—helping students see and hear about what they will encounter in the real world.
“I’ve kept track of all of the HVAC and Refrigeration projects over the last year at the Dairy where I work. Comparing what my company paid for me to go to school and what they would have paid for outside electrical and refrigeration services this year—they recouped their money and then some. After attending MTTI, I am making a better living and am better able to help my company.”
My father had worked at Munroe before me. I began working at sixteen, while still in High School; after graduation, I went to work at Munroe Dairy full-time.
Eventually I was able to operate all of the bottling equipment. Early in my teens I learned to thread pipe and to solder. As I developed new skills, I began getting involved in maintenance.
As much as he taught me, though, I didn’t understand them. I would look at the meter or gauge, call him and tell him what I saw.
Our company sent two of the three guys who worked at the Dairy to another tech school. When they completed school, they had learned some basics; they didn’t have their Universal EPA Certification. Our Refrigeration guy was trying to retire—he recommended the company send someone else to school.
MTTI called Munroe and offered a walk-through of the school; my boss, Rob, brought me along. I interviewed with the HVAC & Refrigeration Instructor, who rated me an ‘excellent candidate’ for the program. My boss set it up for me to attend HVAC/R night classes.
It was a pleasure coming to the school to learn. I valued my comradery with the Instructors. When I got a little behind, I would come in early, before the evening class began, to get extra help. One Instructor tutored me to help me get my EPA Certification early, so that I could take over the refrigeration work at the dairy. If you are willing to learn, the Instructors are willing to teach you.
There are always those times, when going through a year-and-a-half program, that you just aren’t sure if you made the right decision—you think you may have bitten off more than you can chew. My wife helped get me through.
We have five walk-in coolers, plus one large walk-in refrigerator that makes shaved ice. This year, I had to service the ice machine. Before I attended MTTI’s program, I would have called the refrigeration guy to service the broken ice deflector. He would tell me, “Do this”. After graduating the HVAC/R program, I knew how to troubleshoot and could understand why it didn’t work.
Our main office has an oil burner; every winter the office was ice cold. This winter, as I learned at school to troubleshoot and repair oil burners, I serviced our unit. The company that had serviced it had the fan limit switch set to come on at 150 and go off at 130. Normally, it should be set to come on at 150 and to shut off at 100. In the past, every time the fan came on, it would knock the temperature down and the fan would shut off. We would constantly call for service because we had no heat. After I serviced it this year, my boss exclaimed, “It’s warm in here!”. I replied, “You can chalk this up to MTTI.”
One runs to the silos to cool the milk. The other runs into the pasteurizer to cool the milk. In January/February, we had a control issue—the chillers wouldn’t run. I took the multi-meter and diagnosed the problem. I found burned out wire, which I replaced to get it running. Before I went to school, I could use a multi-meter; now I was able to diagnose and trace back to where the problem began. I was able to kill the power to the chillers, ohm things out and find the problem. Before MTTI, that would have been a call to the electrician. Instead, I had us up and running in only 20 minutes. If I had had to make a service call, we would have been down much longer.
I’ve kept track of all of the HVAC and Refrigeration projects over the year at the Dairy. Comparing what my company paid for me to go to school and what they would have paid to outside companies for electrical and refrigeration services—they recouped their money and then some.
I’ve even been able to help friends with hot water heater and gas fired heater issues—it’s a good feeling.
I was surprised at graduation when I won the Gold Wrench Award!
I regularly go back to my notes to solve problems on the job. MTTI’s commercials with the tag line ‘…one day can change your life’ are really true—there’s no way around that! I am making a better living and am better able to help my company.
Since 1881, A.B. Munroe Dairy has been delivering the freshest milk in the area to homes and offices. Delivered in environmentally and health friendly bottles, in no more than 48 hours from the cow to the customer’s home or office, the milk contains no artificial hormones or antibiotics. Munroe offers over 200 grocery products to choose from, many of which come from other local, family owned New England companies. Visit Monroe’s website to order online, and enjoy service fresh from the farm to your table.
151 N. Brow Street
East Providence, RI 02914
Call Us: 401-438-4450
Spotlight Photo & Right Photo: John Sherman with Owner, CEO Rob Armstrong, at Munroe Dairy.
“Going to MTTI was life changing. Before MTTI, I dragged myself to work. Now I look forward to going to work. It’s a learning experience. I love learning and going to my job at Home Healthsmith.” -- Edwin Rivera
“The instructors at MTTI were a good team--they brought the ‘school side’ and the ‘real world side’ together. It was a big, life-changing decision to reduce my work hours to part-time so that I could attend school, but I really wanted to move forward in my life. I’m so happy that I did!” --Corey Smith
“The two candidates we hired have turned out to be true team players who have integrated seamlessly into our team.” — Linda Bohmbach, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Home Healthsmith
“I was trying different things to make a living while figuring out what I could do as a career. I did some work for ModSpace – remodeling of trailers that are used at construction sites. My dad has always been in the trades, doing electrical, carpentry and plumbing—I’ve watched him on the job and have done some work with him.”
“I’m blessed that a friend who had enrolled in MTTI’s Automotive program told me about the school. In the past, I had done some construction with a cousin, so I was interested in learning the Building Trades. I’m a hands-on person. When I toured the school and shop, I thought it would be a great fit for me.”
“I saw on the sign that MTTI was having an Open House. I talked with Susan in Admissions. It was a big, life-changing decision to reduce my work hours to part-time, but I really wanted to move forward in my life. I’m so happy that I did!”
“I wanted to go in to class and learn. I hoped it would be everything I thought it would be—and it was—especially as we started to work on the modules. Plumbing, electrical and carpentry were all really hands-on.”
I liked getting to know the shop, the OSHA-10 training, using hand tools and making the Trestle tables.
“The instructors were a great balance to one another—Pat has so much experience—he had his own company with guys who worked for him. Don is closer to our age and a graduate of the school—he encouraged us because he went out after graduating MTTI and was successful in the industry. The dynamic worked—Pat brought the classical time-honored approach and Don contributed a fresh view from working more recently in the field. They were a good team--they brought the ‘school side’ and the ‘real world side’ together. Gregg, who taught us OSHA-10, was a great help, too.”
“The Instructors, Don and Pat, were always willing to give you extra help after class hours; they would show us things and answer more questions. By the time we went through each section, I felt like we all got it—everyone in the class had a good grasp of the theory and skills.”
It would be the same if I took a different program at MTTI—all of the Instructors take pride in what they know and can do—and want to pass it on to you.”
“She really cares about her job. Every time a new position came in, she came to the classroom and helped us with applications and resumes. She invited employers to the class to meet us.
Corey added, “It’s great that the school reaches out. Erin still checks in with us—even after we have completed the program. I have friends who, after they graduated from college, didn’t have anyone to help them. You can still go the school after graduating and get help; it is part of MTTI’s core goals to continue helping. I imagine that one day after we’ve been out working for a while, Edwin and I will come back to the school to recruit other students.”
“HHS calls Ray when they need work done by a Licensed Electrician. Ray told me that Linda and Bill are nice people; he said they were looking for help. I contacted HHS—and coincidentally, our Career Services Representative, Erin, also knew about them and had information about the open positions.”
Home Healthsmith was looking for people whose skills included basic finish and framing, carpentry, dry wall, high and low voltage, control circuit knowledge, ability to install electrical conduit and wiring. They wanted workers who could read technical drawings (blueprints) and manufacturer’s specs, plus have a broad knowledge of different types of tools and how to use them. Corey explained, “Electrical conduit was not part of the Building Trades’ curriculum, but Pat showed those of us who were interested some basics about electrical conduit. I also assisted in installing conduit during my internship with the electrician.”
Home Healthsmith wanted workers who would help keep the shop organized and clean, and make sure all tools were put back daily. Corey explained, “Pat and Don had us do this every day during the program. Same as at school, we would be expected to work as a part of a team. HHS wanted people capable of working safely—MTTI is very big on safety; Pat and Don drilled that into us!"
“It was my first interview in which I met with more than one person at a time—I spoke with Linda, Bill and Scott (who is now our Supervisor). They were open and honest about their business and the position.”
My goals is to be well-rounded and knowledgeable in all aspects of the building trades. Working now for Home Healthsmith, I see that everything ties together.”
“I recognized that working on elevators and stair lifts would be a new and different experience. I like learning new things.”
“It’s like an extension of MTTI. Pat told us to keep learning.” Edwin added, “We’re continuing to learn on the job. We keep moving forward.”
Corey explained, “Everything is specific to elevator installation.” “We see it from start to finish…from looking like a giant closet to an actual working elevator. Every elevator has a control panel that has to be wired. The wiring goes from the motor all the way to the control panel, which then gets wired into the disconnect. Also, safety mechanisms are directly wired from the control panel to door lock or switch. Before we install the elevator, we go in and pre-wire inside the walls, so that the rest of the construction crew can move on with the job.”
“The job involves a lot of communication with other trades people on the work site. If we have concerns about wiring, we have to bring them to the Electrician; we bring concerns with the hoistway to the Construction Site Supervisor.”
“They need me just as much as I need them. We’re working with the company owners and employees to grow the business. I wake up every day excited to go to work. I enjoy that you don’t know what will happen—each day is something new that I’ve never seen or worked with before. The company is always trying out new products to get something accomplished or to fix something—it’s never monotonous. Even Monday morning meetings are great; they are about good communication: co-workers to boss or to other workers. It's about being part of a team. There’s a sense of pride knowing that other people count on you.”
Corey explained, “We have helped put up aluminum ramps and stair lifts and grab bars that help people live safely and with dignity in their homes. When you see the look on the face of someone who has been struggling, it makes you feel good—gives you a sense of pride.” Edwin added “The look on someone’s face who you have helped is something you remember forever.”
“Before MTTI, I dragged myself to work; it felt stressful. Now I look forward every day to going to work. It’s a learning experience. I love learning and going to my job at Home Healthsmith. “
Our mission is to help you stay in your home longer. We provide mobility and safety along with the assurance of maintaining your dignity, despite your physical limitations.
Contact: Linda Bohmbach, ECHMP Co-Founder & Vice President Sales & Marketing Mail: PO Box 719, Portsmouth, RI 02871
Location: 207 High Point Ave, Unit #2, Portsmouth, R.I., 02871
TOLL FREE 1.855.HHSMITH (447-6484)
Photo: Corey & Edwin in front of almost completed elevator in another part of the building.
“When I made the decision to leave college, because I needed to earn a living, I thought I had given up on my dream. MTTI gave me a strong knowledge of the field and helped me get a great job.”
Before coming to MTTI, I had taken classes at CCRI in software engineering. It was a transfer program to Rhode Island College (RIC). If I had attended school for 4-5 years, I would have earned above an Associate’s degree; I also would have had a large loan to repay. Programming wasn’t really what I wanted to do—staring at a screen for 10-hour days with no social interaction. I wanted a career where I could be working with computers, but also interacting with people.
There was no time to continue taking classes—I was on call 24/7. I believed I had given up on my dream to work in a technology career. Over the years, food service management became less and less fun. I was running on my feet non-stop from 5 am to 4 pm, six days a week. I went as far as I could go in the company—and in the industry in Rhode Island. Food or retail in general, was not financially sustaining for me.
I couldn’t afford to go back to college for 3-4 years. But I could live super tight for months to get through a short-term career training school program.
Friends of mine who knew about MTTI had a positive impression of the school. I met with a Financial Aid Representative to find out what assistance I qualified for; the loan I would need to repay was very affordable.
Even from a young age I was taking apart computers. My Aunt, who has a technology background, taught me a lot. At the same time, I knew there were gaps in my knowledge. When I toured the school and saw the giant server rack in MTTI’s Computer Lab, I recognized that the program goes well beyond the basics. The seven-month program is more like a two year college program—packed with information.
Everybody at MTTI is friendly and nice; it’s an overall good environment. Whatever questions you have, the Instructors are there to help you out. I also made many friends. A group of us stayed in touch; we continue to hang out together.
The program starts at the beginning for people who have no technology background. However, when I completed work ahead of schedule, the Instructors, Ken and Boris, gave me additional assignments. You can take full advantage of the program by putting in extra effort to get ahead, which is a great way to prepare for going to work.
I dreaded the search process, but the results were encouraging. MTTI expects students to fully participate in the search; we went out and dropped off resumes at employers’ locations. The process helped us get over our fears about making direct contact with employers.
I was surprised by how important customer service experience is to employers. If you are working in any retail or food related operation, it will help you get hired in computer tech support positions. Career Services also introduced me to employers who visited the class to talk about internships and employment possibilities.
Eric Shorr, President / CEO of Secure Future Tech Solutions, visited MTTI and interviewed all of the students in my class; he offered me the internship and I accepted. Eric told me there was a possibility of a permanent position, if I proved myself. Before the end of the internship, I received and accepted a job offer. Being picked for the internship, and then offered the job, was a huge boost to my confidence.
[Photo - front to back: MTTI Graduates, Hugo Figueroa (2004), Mark Chauvin (2017) and Scott Robinson (2011)]
Initially I did some hardware repair and bench work, which I still do at times. Secure Future Tech Solutions provides services to small and medium-sized businesses, including law firms and property management organizations. Both remotely, and at clients’ sites, I set up printers, set up new email users or manage existing ones, set up servers and new domains. I patch computers to protect against viruses.
If I don’t know all of their needs, I am likely to get a call from the client, after I’ve completed the set-up, saying they need access to a certain driver or specific folders.
“An MSP handles a variety of client needs for companies that don’t have their own in-house IT Specialist or Department.”
“The Tech really has to ask a ton of questions—even be intuitive—to assess a client’s needs. Often the client is calling with a problem, and is already feeling frustrated. The Tech needs to use investigative and problem-solving skills to understand the issues—and then good communication skills to explain it to the client. Mark has been able to jump in and do this well. ”
I don’t feel like I’m just sitting at a desk in a cubicle—I’m interacting with people—working as part of a team to bring critical IT services to our clients. I’m learning so much—in the first two months at Secure Future Tech Solutions, I have doubled my knowledge.
When I made the decision to leave college because I needed to earn a living, I thought I had given up on my dream. MTTI gave me a strong knowledge of the field and helped me get a great job. Secure Future Tech Solutions gave me the opportunity to make that dream come true.
Secure Future Tech Solutions
“Celebrating 25 Years of Commitment to the State of RI, the Industry, Employees’ Needs and the Local Economy.”
110 Jefferson Blvd., Suite C, Warwick, RI 02888
Phone: 1-401-267-4635 / 1 (800) 782-3988
Fax: 1 (401) 921-2610
*Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
“I came to MTTI with no knowledge about the marine industry. I had never even started an outboard motor! MTTI really does set you up to be successful and to have a career. Attending MTTI was the best decision I made.”
Before coming to MTTI, I served for four years in the United States Air Force as a Jet Engine Mechanic (Aerospace Propulsion Journeyman). After leaving the Air Force, I worked for seven years, performing medical billing as an Accounts Receivable Representative for a nursing facility. I wondered if I should get my A & P license (Airframe and/or Powerplant) so that I could work as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician.
I began looking online for mechanical training schools and MTTI came up in the search. MTTI has short-term programs, which made it less expensive than at other schools. I appreciated that the program included an internship to help get you into the field. As a Career Changer (and a single mother to my 10-year old daughter), I wanted to be sure I would have a paycheck at the end of the program. The tool bonus, given to graduates upon acceptance of a training-related position, was huge—I didn’t have any tools I could use on the job.
A lot of my classmates had experience, and I had none. I had no knowledge about the industry. I had never even started an outboard motor! Mechanical experience in the Air Force was helpful, but working on a plane is very different than working on a boat. In the aircraft industry, you work as part of a crew, on big engines. In the marine industry, each person has a job and goes out by his or her self to do it.
During the first weeks, I had second thoughts. I asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’ I expressed these doubts to my instructor, Don. I told him, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.’ Don asked me to give it a chance. He said, “It’s a fun industry—and there are different areas in which you can work. You might be better off working on inboards, where you can climb into the boat, in comparison with outboards, where you have to take off a heavy cover. There are also positions in parts or as a Service Writer.”
It helped that all the guys in class were supportive. I really appreciate that MTTI has a small, close-knit community. In class, I became excited every time I learned to do something new. It was such a good feeling to know I had my hands on something and could fix it. Gradually I became comfortable—but I was petrified about going out to internship. I didn’t know what to expect.
I took a day to drive around and meet people, and to personally hand them my packet of internship information. I was invited to interview at three Marinas. I connected most with the person who later became my co-worker at Onset Bay, and was accepted there for internship.
When I began the internship, my co-worker took me under his wing. A part-time teacher of marine mechanics in Plymouth, he has a lot of knowledge to share. He showed me technical skills that really helped me on the job.
He said, “You’re smart enough. I can see you going to manufacturers’ trainings and soaking it up.” As the internship ended, he reviewed with me the progress I had made; he confirmed that I was a good fit for the industry. He stressed that I had filled a void, helping them get through a busy spring—the boats wouldn’t be in the water if I hadn’t been there.
In class at MTTI everyone was accepting and helpful. During internship, I found I had no difficulty in a male-dominated industry. As a smaller person, I sometimes needed to ask for help; I learned that it was ok—everyone was happy to help me. And I could help them in return because, as a smaller person, I was able to crawl into spaces that were difficult for a larger person to access.
Now I’m evaluating boat operations during sea trials. I’m also working towards completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management at Bridgewater State University. With my business education and work experience in billing, computer and office skills, I can see myself growing in the industry. If I do, some day, supervise other employees or have the opportunity to run a marina, I’ll have all the pieces put together.
My co-worker reminds me to look out at the water and appreciate where I am. I have come so far in a short amount of time and I keep progressing. I feel this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Juggling all of my responsibilities—as a single mom, college student, an MTTI Marine Service Technician student, and as an intern—seemed daunting at the beginning. You think you can’t do all that, but you can. You figure it out as you are doing it.
Now that I have completed the program, and have a job I love at the Marina, I know that one day did change my life. MTTI really does set you up to be successful and to have a career. Attending MTTI was the best decision I made.
For More information about MTTI's programs, or to schedule a tour of the classrooms/labs/shops, contact us.
PHOTO: Sharon Ring, Vice President of MTTI, Alyssa Linkamper, MTTI Marine Service Technician Graduate & 2015 ACCSC Outstanding Graduate Award recipient, and Eddie Ring, Assistant Director of MTTI with (left) Christopher D. Lambert, ACCSC Associate Executive Director and (right) Michale S. McComis, Ed.D., ACCSC Executive Director.
“It is never too late or too early to start learning, if you are going to love what you do. You are going to learn at MTTI what you need to know to make money right away. If you work hard enough, you will get what you want—you will accomplish your dreams.”
"Juan is an asset. Great attitude and always willing to work hard. (MTTI provides a) good baseline education."— Dale Hebert, Service Director
Balise Chevrolet of Warwick
Juan started working on cars and trucks early in life.
His uncle bought a truck with major engine problems. Juan hung around in his uncle’s friend’s garage, watching the repairs; his uncle offered to teach him. Juan, not yet 13, thought, “Maybe I’m too young.”
Apparently he was not too young—he began making friends with different mechanics and learning everything he could from them. “I would go from one mechanic to another to find work—they would pay me a small amount. When I got my driver’s license at 17, I bought my first car with the money I had made.”
Juan came to the United States from the Dominican Republic just before turning 12. He felt that he had a responsibility to his dad and younger brother and sister. (Juan’s mom joined them about a year-and-a-half ago.) Juan had seen the poverty of people in his home country—and how they would live in the moment, spending money as quickly as they made it. He wanted to make more of himself. “Even without parents telling me to get up to go to High School, I was never late.”
"Before I came to MTTI, I was getting paid a little to work on cars—but I was doing it more because I liked it than for the money. I first heard about MTTI while in High School, from a Representative who came to our Career Day. “
“I looked into other schools, but their programs cost more money. I read about MTTI’s Auto program on the website, and I talked to guys I knew who had graduated from the school. Then I toured the school and talked with the Auto Instructors, Rich and Glen. “
“My first week in class seemed kind of slow for me—the program started with the basics. Even though I knew the basics, I only scored a 62 on the first test (hands tools). I knew the names of the tools in Spanish, but not in English! I recognized I had to pay more attention to the book work so that I could test well. I studied more for the next test and did better.”
Sometimes I borrowed a lift to work on a car—so I had to finish the job on the same day—often working until midnight or 1:00 am. Still, I would jump every morning to get up for school. I don’t want to get stuck—I want to do better for myself.”
"I have experience working on Hondas, so I decided I wanted to learn to work on domestic cars. Everything at Balise is computerized—the dealership is very organized.”
“During the internship, I replaced injectors on diesel engines, replaced pistons and pistons rings; replaced a power steering pump, did a ball joint job plus replaced two shock absorbers”.
“I was hired at the end of internship. I started at flat rate right away—getting paid by the job instead of by the hour. I do a mix of jobs: brakes, axle bearings, suspensions, electric problems, recalls and maintenance. The only thing I haven’t done yet on Chevrolets is to rebuild a transmission. I am also doing online training from home, to learn the General Motors way of doing things.”
"I was always paying attention. I loved the hands-on learning in the shop—the teachers give you lots of opportunity to work on whatever you want to learn. You can work on a car you bring in, or on other students’ cars, and on cars that MTTI staff and people from the community bring for repair or maintenance. This is the time for you to screw it up, when you have instructors who will help you make it right.”
If someone doesn’t get hired, it is because they didn’t try hard enough. No job is too hard—you just have to try harder to get it done.”
“I live in the present but I think about the future. I have things I want to accomplish. I’m a country boy—I’d like to continue to live in Providence, but have a place in the Dominican Republic that I can visit. I’d like to have kids while still young, maybe in the next five years. Someday, I might like to start my own business. My biggest and first goal has been to get a job and make money to earn a reasonable living. I am doing that now. ”
“It is never too late or too early to start learning, if you are going to love what you do. Whether you have to take classes in the day or night—even if you have to work while going to school—do it. You are going to learn at MTTI what you need to know to make money right away. If you work hard enough, you will get what you want—you will accomplish your dreams.”
During 2020, Ryan let us know he was working from home during the pandemic, for a new company in healthcare IT. By moving to a new company, he advanced his career. A Technical Support Representative at Interbit Data, Ryan has worked directly with many hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 virus and has personally helped orchestrate delivery of COVID-19 test results and information to thousands of healthcare staff across North America and Europe. Ryan also returns regularly to MTTI to voluntarily serve on MTTI's Program Advisory Committe, helping us keep current the program from which he graduated. Thank you, Ryan!
“Coming right out of high school, I expected that MTTI would have a school-like environment. However, I found that that the program feels more like job training than classroom education. Now that it has been a full year since I started my internship and job at Amazing Charts, it amazes me that I found a wonderful career right out of High School.”
My Senior Project during High School was a mentorship with Cox Communications. I found technology fascinating; I began to think about where I could go to after graduation to pursue a technical career. I looked at Colleges and Tech schools. I was cautious about 2 and 4-year colleges, because I heard that a lot of people got themselves into debt. Tech schools were more hands-on. I toured MTTI and one other school.
The MTTI Representative explained that ½ day was spent in the classroom and ½ in the lab—it was the best of both worlds for me. I enrolled and started the program. People were friendly. Classes at MTTI are smaller, so it felt almost like a family.
Some of them had even built their own computer. I had no prior experience—I was starting fresh. I wondered if the class would go too fast for me.
I stopped worrying about being left behind as the class went on. My instructor, Ken made sure everyone understood what he was teaching. He would stop moving forward during the lesson until everyone was on the same page.
There was no division between people who came with experience and those who did not—I could ask anyone a question and they could ask questions of me. Everyone seemed to be learning something new to them. As the program progressed, the distinction was more between those who were making efforts in their work and those who were not--but it was never about age or background.
I had worked at Stop and Shop, but not directly with customers. I had to draw upon my personal experience in relating to family and friends. MTTI gave me a lot of tools by having me interact with people in the class, instructors and other staff and students at the school.
We worked on computers brought to us for repair or upgrades by students in the school. While troubleshooting and resolving issues—for example testing to determine if software was corrupted or hardware had failed—Ken let you work it out for yourself. He would be on hand to make sure you didn’t compromise the system—ready to help— but allowing you to move through the procedures. This style of leaning really worked for me.
I also attribute my success to the Career Services Representative, Rick. He was diligent in making sure he gave us all the information he could about job search and interviewing, and in offering leads. He helped every student in the program achieve their goals.
The work situation at both places was similar—talking on the phone with clients, discussing problems. When I interviewed with CVS, I felt confident I could do the job. If I went with CVS, I could walk to work. So why would I drive all the way to North Kingstown for an internship or job, when I had the opportunity to work right near my home?
Amazing Charts has a comfortable environment. Everyone is helpful—and everyone dresses casually. We can exchange information with one another and I can ask anyone a question. It felt very much like being in the computer program at MTTI.
I was under contract for six months; if I worked out, my position would become permanent and I would be eligible for a raise.
Amazing Charts works with medical organizations all over the country—including Alaska and Hawaii. Initially, we were working on the ICD-10 update. Amazing Charts’ software is simplified and user friendly for primary care and specialty practices. We have a huge library of videos for medical professionals to learn from—and my associates and I provide support.
I have them walk me though their processes. I listen to understand what the issues are, and what could be causing them. Trying to figure out what is causing the problem is like solving a mystery—I feel like I am doing detective work. The investigative work keeps it fresh and exciting.
I get to listen to and talk with some highly educated people. They are extremely knowledgeable about the medical field—but not necessarily about computers and software. I learn from them about how their medical operations work, including the workflow at their primary or specialty medical practices. In turn, I provide them with the information and problem resolution to ensure that the Amazing Charts software serves the needs of their practice.
The people here are fantastic—we are able to work together so compatibly. The workplace fits my personality so well!
I hope to encourage other young folks like myself to consider the technical training route. I thank my instructor, the Career Services Representative, and the school for what you have done for me—I will always be ab advocate for MTTI.
Founded in 2001 by a practicing family physician, Amazing Charts, LLC provides Electronic Health Record (EHR) software and services to primary care and specialty outpatient practices. Our mission is to patient health outcomes and professional satisfaction through affordable, practical, and proven medical education and software technology.
Amazing Charts, LLC
650 Ten Rod Rd, Suite 12, North Kingstown, RI 02852
(401) 667-7661 / http://amazingcharts.com/
Wyatt chose career training in preference to college; John changed careers instead of retiring. They proved to be a good match when teaming together on projects in school. As business partners, their mission is to provide boat owners with high quality service at an affordable price. Their business, Above Water Marine in Warwick, RI, offers bow to stern repairs.
Wyatt’s Dad was an auto mechanic; while Wyatt was growing up, his Dad had his own shop. “I worked with my Dad on all of the family vehicles. We also had boats. When I was 2 years old, we had a small bass tracker motorboat. As we upgraded to different boats, I worked on each of them.”
"Searching online I found MTTI’s website, and made an appointment to tour the school. I enrolled in MTTI’s Marine program because of the value in the number of program hours for the amount of money, compared with other schools I researched. I felt the program would give me a foot into the marine industry.”
"He had worked for three companies, and at one time had seven people working under him. John convinced the business owners he worked for to move from manual operations to Computerized Numeric Control (CNC)—he made all three of them millionaires.”
“I helped John work on a boat trailer, and then we did projects together. We worked well together. John planned to start his own business. Although he intended to work on his own, he learned to trust me.”
Throughout his life, John had had lots of boats, and had done some repairs on them. “I did think about going to school out-of-state, in Florida. I didn’t want to spend a year-and-a-half in school, working for free on other people’s boats—plus I’m a New Englander.”
John spoke with MTTI’s School Owner and President, Ward, who initially did not encourage John to enroll. Ward impressed upon John that the Marine program is an intense course, with lots of studying—he didn’t want John to waste his money. John, never one to take ‘no’ for an answer, told him, “I spent years going to school to learn CNC programming, so I know I can learn. Writing programming is intense—one mistake will crash that machine. People invest a lot of money in a boat. They expect that boat to float and run. If I could program ½ million dollar machines, I can learn to repair a boat. “
“I like the challenge—if I really want to do something, I will do it.”
“Ward was right—MTTI’s program is intense. At the end of the school day, often I would go home to read 150 pages in the text, and have a test the next day. I have four notebooks full of material—notes and brochures that the Instructor, Dave, would give us.”
“Unlike my experience at other schools and in business, Dave and Jay thought that no question was a stupid question. When people in the class didn’t get something, they would slow it down to make sure everyone got what they were teaching. Dave stayed after class to give people extra help. I appreciate that the Instructors here really want to share all of their knowledge.”`
“When we hit the part of the program covering machine parts, I helped others learn to read the Vernier scale on a micrometer, and how to drill and tap. I’ll use this skill in my new business, for example when working on camshafts that drive the valves.”
“Even though I came with some experience, there is a difference between working on car and boat engines. Boats can’t have sparks around their engines, because that would ignite a fire. I learned to buy the right corrosion-proof and explosion-proof parts-- factory-grade parts. It doesn’t serve anyone to buy cheaper, questionable parts. “
“The Marine instructor, Dave, is great. Dave gave me lots of background on the details of marine mechanics. If marine mechanics is what you want to do, put your nose to the grindstone and work hard. If you put your mind to it, Dave can take you to places you never thought you could get to. Leaving MTTI, I know I can work on anything.”
“We can repair or rebuild engines, transmissions, outboards and stern drives—bow to stern repairs. We’re hoping to add winter storage where we are located in Warwick.”
“We already have a lot of contacts, including Bay View Marine in Warwick. I’ve worked with the owner on projects. Bought parts from him and learned from him—he continues to be one of my main sources of knowledge, as I transition from student into marine mechanical professional. We’re renting space from Bay View Marine; the owner is providing referrals and directing clients to us.”
“I’m talking with owners of expensive boats. When they talk with me, they hear that I can explain their problem to them, and that I know how to fix it, or can find the right resources to help me fix it.”
“We’ll make repairs on time and get the boat in the water.”
“I’ve learned personally that just because someone can talk a good talk, it doesn’t mean they can walk their talk. I am not out there to make money on somebody’s bad day—I am here to make their day a great day. When a boater takes their family out on the water, they want to know the boat will be safe. We will stand behind our work, and make it right to the best of our ability.”
“I thank my wife for believing in me and John—that the business will support us. John’s brother-in-law, Kevin will help us with the financial end of the business. My wife will be taking business courses in college; eventually she will take a role in managing our business.”
“I also thank John for being a good friend during school. I am thankful that he is giving me this opportunity. ”
During his internship, John had the opportunity to be hired as a machinist for a major marine company; he declined the offer. “I want to repair boats.”
“We are getting busy. I’m going to enjoy the challenge of making a good living doing something I like—and helping people—the boat owners—while doing it. After working so many years for others, I want to build a business with our name on it, instead of building business for someone else.”
"If people want to get into a field with plenty of work—plenty of jobs and career paths—it is heating, air conditioning and construction.''
Speaking to MTTI students during their visit to GEM, Larry told them that he sees two forces shaping the HVAC industry–climate change and microprocessor technology.
"All the major countries in the world recognize global warming, and are getting behind carbon reduction. The challenge of finding solutions to the effects of climate change falls to the next generation—those young people who are growing up today."
"During the next 10-15 years, there will be so many rebates because of new carbon laws directed at reducing global warming. Although the cost of installing equipment has been going up, people have become more sensitive to climate change— and they are willing to pay for technology that reduces their carbon footprint. Fortunately the government is willing to pay subsidies to bring equipment and installation costs down. I expect that the cost of equipment to homeowners will decrease by about 50%. The added bonus is that energy bills will also decrease. Home owners are looking at the cost of installing and operating technology as an investment. "
"Direct digital control (DDC) enhances equipment energy performance and functionality; a lot of equipment is becoming much more efficient. “As equipment becomes more efficient it requires a blending of jobs—construction, electrical, plumbing and HVAC. These jobs are hands-on and can’t be outsourced or replaced. There is so much work in the industry now!"
"They have leadership skills, which come from caring about customer satisfaction. They have mechanical aptitude. And they have the right ‘fear factor’–they are not afraid to work. We want more workers with these same qualities.”
“GEM is continually on the cutting edge of new technology, testing and installing new products for manufacturers. If people want to get into a field with plenty of work—plenty of jobs and career paths—it is heating, air conditioning and construction. “
Today the complexity of technology requires that someone be more than a technician. Installation and service professionals have to be hands-on engineers—they are no longer just technicians, they are engineers.”
Commenting to MTTI staff about interning and hiring students, Larry said, “I hear nothing but great feedback from managers about the MTTI students we have hired."
"We have a strict interview process—MTTI students are giving all the right answers. When asked very difficult questions—even for a seasoned veteran in the industry—we are blown away by students’ answers. Once on the job, their hands-on skills and work ethic are at the highest level. We get good feedback about employees’ attitude from customers—I look at the names and they are MTTI graduates.”
"Now is the time to get into construction and engineering in the HVAC industry. MTTI is a great place to start. I want to hire more MTTI graduates.”
GEM plumbing, founded in 1949, is family owned and operated. Serving commercial and residential clients, GEM offers comprehensive, advanced and effective Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical, Septic & Drain Cleaning services in New England. Gem continually strives to provide the best in customer service coupled with the most knowledgeable plumbers and service technicians in Rhode Island. GEM is proud to be a Green Company.The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation was established in 2004 in memory of their mom who died from this horrific disease. 100% of the net proceeds remain in the local community and Gem donates a portion of the proceeds from every service call to the Foundation.
GEM Plumbing & Heating Inc.
1 Wellington Road
Lincoln, RI 02865
“For many years, my dream was to go to college or trade school, but I never had the chance to do it. The moment I had the opportunity—I seized it. If I had known about the school earlier in my life, I would have done this a long time ago.”
A man of many talents—and also multi-lingual--Domingos came to MTTI with a varied background and life experience. He had lived in different parts of the country while in the United States Army; managed a Pizzeria in Greer, South Carolina; subleased and driven a cab in Boston, MA.
“While staying with friends in Belmar, NJ, I helped out for several months by working as a carpenter; I renovated a house. Although my friend said to me, “Domingos, you can do anything”, I decided I needed more education. I began looking online for trade or carpentry schools and MTTI came up.”
“When I saw the work the class was doing, I recognized that this is what I wanted to do. “
“Although I entered the program to be a carpenter, I also learned electrical—and the program helped me with math. My instructor, Pat, was very knowledgeable and dedicated, even providing extra help after class. When I went to MTTI, I was almost 50—a mature man. I wish I had known Pat many moons ago—my life would have been different.”
"The more you know, the more marketable you are.”
“Pat told me to work for a master carpenter for two years; then go out on my own. I interviewed with Diversified Properties for a Property Management position, but didn’t go to work for them right away. I took time to make sure it was the right position for me.
"For example, while I am working on this sink, I am thinking about where to tighten or adjust the alignment of components—and make sure I seal things properly.”
“In this sink, there is a problem with the water flowing equally well out of both the hot and cold water tap. Because a washer is so old, it has become compressed from use and is stuck on the seat of the shut off valve. The water pressure is not pushing it out, so the water doesn’t flow. I will need to shut off the water main, take it apart, and replace the old washer with a new one.”
"When someone moves out of an apartment, we have only a few days to refinish or put in new floors and new countertops, replace broken bathroom tiles , install new tiles in the bathroom or kitchen, repair broken bathroom fans or re-plumb sinks and toilets—and paint the whole apartment. “
“The apartment becomes my shop. And, at the end of the work day, I have to clean up and organize all my tools and equipment, just as Pat had us do in the shop at school. Tomorrow I will put in the new kitchen countertop, repair the bathroom fan and sink, install the new flooring in the kitchen—and leave the apartment clean and ready for the new tenants to move in.”
“For many years, my dream was to go to college or trade school, but I never had the chance to do it. The moment I had the opportunity—I seized it. If I had known about the school earlier in my life, I would have done this a long time ago.”
“MTTI is a great start for someone who wants to go into the trades—it rounds out your experience. Especially if your heart is in carpentry or maintenance—or you want to apprentice as a plumber or electrician—it’s a wonderful program.”
Billy Barry always wanted to be a mechanic. Bored, and not very inspired to earn good grades when in High School, Billy was still considered “college material”. His High School Principal discouraged Billy’s interest in a mechanical career, saying it was “not for smart people.” The Principal told him he needed to go to college.
After graduating High School, Billy worked for many years as a talented Chef, first in North Carolina and then in New York State. An avid motorcycle rider for fifteen years, Billy finally decided to follow his personal passion--he made the decision to train for a career as a Motorcycle Technician.
His companion Rachel (the “girl” of their future a girl and a guy Cycles) favored Rhode Island as a place to study art. Billy googled “motorcycle training in the northeast”–and MTTI’s Motorcycle/Power Equipment training program in Rhode Island was a match.
Billy liked Jay Coffey, the program’s instructor, when he visited the School and interviewed with him. He enrolled to start in the fall 2007 class. Rachel changed plans, choosing to attend school for motorcycle mechanics because it “…had more allure and made more sense fiscally” than an advanced art degree.
He was ready to work hard. “The only way to learn is by doing—get in there and practice every day in the shop.”
Billy agrees with Matthew B. Crawford, author of Shop Class as Soulcraft, that mechanics is an underrated profession. “Similar to the skills required for “white collar” office work, the mechanical trades require critical thinking, logic and problem solving—that’s what mechanics do every day.”
During the program, Billy interned at a North Providence Ducati motorcycle shop; he continued to work there after graduating. The experience he gained eventually served him well when he started his own shop. Rachel worked at Java Speed Scooters in Providence. When Java Speed closed in 2009, the owner moved his equipment into the Lorraine Mill Complex on Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket. The owner told Rachel and Billy, “There’s a shop waiting for you and a customer list.”
Billy is passionate about working on older Japanese vintage bikes. This specialty encouraged him to target an under-exploited niche—scooters and older motorcycles. “Most dealerships won’t touch older bikes—they don’t have to.” Billy’s core clientele is made up of about 50% modern and vintage scooters, and 50% older Japanese models. Able to fix almost any bike, old or new, Billy is building a sustainable business.
The cold, snowy season is long enough to keep riders off the road—but snow typically doesn’t last long enough to support significant snowmobile activity. To help cover the bills during the off season, Billy offers winter storage for bikes, with a discount for winter work. He, like a friend in Medway, MA and another friend who lives further north, do well by keeping overhead low and servicing a variety of bikes and small engine equipment.
We’ll also help people when they are buying a bike, for example, from craigslist.org. We’re the one shop that encourages people to work on their own bike—I’ll give them advice about changing oil and spark plugs. When they can’t—or don’t want to do it themselves—we’ll do it for them. There are enough people who don’t want to do it—they just want to hand it over to you.”
“Students get credit for working on their own bikes in the shop. I tore down my Yamaha XT500 and built it back up. MTTI was the only program in the northeast offering motorcycle and small engine repair, but I never wished for another option.” A six-year graduate of MTTI, Billy has provided internships for several students. He also gives back to the School by serving on the Motorcycle Program Advisory Committee. Billy regularly meets with other industry professionals to review the program’s curriculum, facilities and equipment. The process helps MTTI’s program keep current with changing industry needs.
“It’s all about the work you are willing to do. You will get out of MTTI’s program what you put into it.”