CommunityIssue 38

New Opportunities Provide New Careers

WRITTEN BY: JUDY BORING
Communications Coordinator, Stanislaus County Office of Education

NATHAN ALLAN AND HIS WIFE WERE SELF-EMPLOYED AND HAD BEEN GETTING BY FINANCIALLY; BUT THEN CIRCUMSTANCES OUTSIDE OF THEIR CONTROL CHANGED.

They celebrated the birth of their son, but he required extra medical care, which left them with unexpected medical expenses. They both spent more time taking care of their son and not as much time tending to their business. This led to financial difficulty, and the couple knew they needed to make a change. According to Nathan, “I needed to make a swift transition into a meaningful, substantial opportunity that could help us financially.” This is when the newly formed partnership between the Stanislaus County Office of Education and Opportunity Stanislaus came into the picture, and their VOLT Institute came to the rescue.

Allan learned about the machine mechanics classes offered at the VOLT Institute and the first cohort which began in October of 2017. “I didn’t know there was such a need for the skills being taught and how good the employment opportunities, higher compensation and benefits were,” said Allan. The decision was made; Allan took the leap and changed his career direction to better provide for his family. 

Everything was new to Allan. “Besides the fundamental math and science behind the machines, the most prominent things I learned were installing motors, power drive systems for various applications, pump systems, and general electrical systems. It was all new,” said Allan. “Even just the practice with hand tools and fasteners was a helpful learning experience. I most enjoyed coming to understand the higher levels of how all this works, allowing for more critical thinking and analysis when faced with troubleshooting problems in the field.” On June 27, 2018, eight months after beginning the Industrial Maintenance Mechanic program at the VOLT Institute, Allan graduated, earning all the certifications required. And, because of his new skill set, he was hired by Doctors Medical Center (DMC) in Modesto two weeks prior to his graduation. 

Dan Martin, Director of Facilities Services at DMC, became involved as an advisor for the VOLT Institute at Opportunity Stanislaus. As an industry leader, he provided valuable input and direction during the planning phase for the program. 

“I was able to share the skills gap in our community and the difficulty finding skilled maintenance mechanics with the Stanislaus County Office of Education and Opportunity Stanislaus,” said Martin. During the class sessions, members of the advisory committee, including Martin, share their expertise with students and also have an opportunity to observe their skills and assess them as potential employees. “As a director, I look for a person with a desire to learn and someone who can carry himself or herself well. Nathan Allan definitely had that so we offered him a position at Doctors Medical Center.” 

Over the next year, Martin shared that Allan will continue to receive specific instruction about DMC’s facilities. “Our department maintains the operation of the medical center including taking care of the air-conditioning, heating, plumbing, electrical, etc.,” said Martin. “We keep the center operable so doctors and nurses can care for patients.” 

As a graduate of the VOLT Institute, Allan recommends the program to anyone seeking an opportunity or who might not have the direction, education, or skills to find better employment. “If you’re going to work a full-time job anyway, you might as well get paid more in a trade that is in demand,” said Allan. “I sensed the greater chance of finding better employment in maintenance and I brought my passion with me.” 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE VOLT INSTITUTE, CONTACT DEB ROWE, DIRECTOR II FOR STANISLAUS COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION AT 209-238-1506 OR 209-566-9102.

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