For Dylan Feutz, hard work has always been the easy part. When he graduated from high school in 2011, he chose the low-cost path. “The only reason I never went to college after high school is because I didn’t want to pay for it,” said Feutz, “I just planned on just working hard and making money.” Over the years in the workforce, he’s held jobs in food service and manufacturing, but something drove him to want more.

“I had heard about the boot camps in the newspaper, and seen it many times over the last four or five years,” Feutz explained, “but I always thought I could do it, then tossed it in a pile and forgot about it.” But something about this time was different. At the time, he was working as a limited term employee for a local manufacturer, and Feutz knew that the work was good and the pay was fair, but he didn’t have the thing that would keep moving him forward.

“It hit me that the longer I stay here, it isn’t making my resume any better. It’s not like I can go somewhere else and say, ‘Hey, why don’t you pay me a dollar more an hour than I make over here because I can move product.’ I needed to get a job that’s more mental over just physical. I needed a true skill.”

So Feutz signed up for the Test Drive and came to campus to hear about the boot camps. Test Drives are events where the boot camps are explained in an information session, workshops are held to make something using welding and CNC skills, and employers meet for a free lunch. So Test Drives are fun, and they give great connections, but like all new experiences, it can be a big first step.

“It was a little intimidating walking in to the College for the first time. It’s new to me. I’ve been out of high school for five years, so walking back into a school was, it was cool in a way because I knew that I was bettering myself, to do something and to learn something, but it wasn’t easy. I actually love learning stuff, so it was pretty exciting to actually put my foot forward in something like this.”

A few months later Feutz had overcome more first experiences – interviews, testing, orientation, and the first day of class with new people – but it’s right where he wants to be. From day one, Jim Gyorfy, CNC Boot Camp Instructor, tells students to get to know each other early. The boot camps are all the same classes with all the same people, and becomes a tight knit group. Feutz said.

“We’re pretty much on that comfort level where we can talk about whatever and help each other out.” It’s helpful being in all the classes together because the classes “all mesh together so we can relate. Between ourselves and each other, if something is having trouble with one part, then we say well you remember in the other class, we were doing this, and we can walk them through it.”

And what part does Feutz enjoy most? “I enjoy the homework. When we started on algebra, I was happy, and it is fun because algebra has always stuck in my head pretty good.” Although the math portion may not be everybody’s favorite, for Feutz, it was a clear sign that he was in the right field, and going back to school has only continued to pique his interest in expanding his knowledge and skills.

He has plans to continue onto school, hoping that he’ll receive a job offer from his internship site, Mayville Engineering Company, Inc. Sometime down the road, Feutz plans to continue schooling, ending with a career in engineering.

It’s the commitment to hard work and plans for the future that keep Feutz in the boot camp when things are tough. He encourages others to sign up with those same ideas, “The people I’ve told about it, sometimes they say, ‘I don’t have my diploma,’ and I say, ‘You don’t need it. Just go.’” He talks to people about the incredible support the boot camp receives with community resources and how that make a three month program work, “With WIOA, they pay for my daycare and my gas. They help get food stamps and Badger Care too, so I have don’t have to struggle with bills while I go through boot camp. They’re really willing to help you get through three months if it means that you’re going to take it and move on to better things.”

We wish you all better things, Dylan, as you continue through the boot camp, and beyond the May 12 graduation. We have no doubt you’ll be successful, because, in your own words:

“You just need that drive. You have to want to do it. I think that’s all you really need.”

For more information, please visit morainepark.edu/bootcamp!

Written by Samantha Story