When it comes to once in a lifetime opportunities, JP Jesion of Fond du Lac knows firsthand how rare they are to come by.
“I came from a self-defeating lifestyle, but I was searching for something more,” Jesion said. “When I walked through the doors of Moraine Park Technical College, I was ready for a new beginning.”
Jesion, a recovering drug addict, was looking to redefine his life and set career goals for himself. Two years prior, he overdosed on the highly addictive drug, fentanyl.
“I died for 6 1/2 minutes,” Jesion said. “The fact that I am here today is beyond a blessing.”
Until this point, Jesion had worked mostly temporary jobs with little stability or career direction. He was ready to leave this behind, and Moraine Park’s Manufacturing Skills Academy boot camp program was an opportunity that could help him do just that. In fact, he called this program a golden opportunity.
Moraine Park currently offers welding and computerized numerical control (CNC) machining boot camp programs. These unique 15-week training opportunities provide individuals with entry-level skills, as well as job experience. The programs are offered for free to participating students, thanks to grant dollars and support from community partners.
“From the moment I sat down with the program leaders at Moraine Park, I felt encouraged,” Jesion said. “When I showed up to the orientation, I was sure of one thing: this opportunity could open doors for me and help me create a better future for myself.”
Jesion had planned to select the welding boot camp, following in the footsteps of his uncle. However, after talking with Moraine Park instructor Jim Gyorfy, he learned more about the CNC career path, and it became apparent that this program would be a better fit for him.
“I didn’t know anything about CNC machining, and I initially didn’t believe I was capable,” Jesion said. “My math skills weren’t the strongest, and I had no idea how to read a blueprint, but Jim helped me gain an overall understanding of the CNC career path. I was very interested in the program but also nervous. Jim challenged me to give him 90 days, to show up on time, be willing and present, and if I committed to that, he would help me get through it.”
This program also allows participants a career based internship, so they can work within their selected career path and utilize their skills as they learn them. Moraine Park’s boot camp program partners with area manufacturing companies for these internships, Mid-States Aluminum of Fond du Lac is one of them.
“We are very grateful for the partnership we have with Moraine Park’s CNC Boot Camp program. We have had some amazing students serve their internships here,” Joanne Schneider, associate involvement team leader at Mid-States Aluminum said. “We are also fortunate to have offered each intern a very nice position with our company after their graduation. ‘Progress Thru People’ is our tagline and we cannot progress as a company without well-qualified candidates to hire. This program has been an overall win for the students, Moraine Park, and our company.”
Jesion was one of the students who had the opportunity to gain employment at Mid-States Aluminum both as an intern through the boot camp program, and as a full-time employee following his program completion. Jesion graduated from the CNC boot camp program in May 2018 and served as a student speaker at the graduation ceremony.
“Today, I am choosing to focus on the positive,” Jesion said. “This journey was more than just finding my career path. It helped me build character, security, and a positive self-image. This program helped me to show my children that in the face of a tough situation, I was able to come out on the upside. I took a leap of faith by participating in Moraine Park’s boot camp program. The goals I have accomplished have given me a new future, a new focus, and a sense of stability that I didn’t think was possible. I am proud of myself and thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way, this truly has been a golden opportunity.”
Moraine Park Technical College offers welding and CNC boot camps twice a year starting in September and January. Registrations are currently being accepted for the sessions starting in September 2018. Individuals interested in participating should visit morainepark.edu/bootcamp or call Todd Hayes at (920) 924-3334.