Major: Project Hire-Ed
When Hamid Benfakir was searching for apprenticeship programs, he discovered Project Hire-Ed at College of DuPage.
He had heard positive word-of-mouth from family and friends who previously attended COD, so he went to a Project Hire-Ed seminar class and learned about the program, which COD launched to address what business leaders believe is missing in the skill sets of recent applicants and from the workforce. The initiative focuses on classroom curriculum, on-the-job training and employment in today’s marketplace.
“I was interested in several of the different career paths and programs that Project Hire-Ed offered,” he said. “The combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training sounded very beneficial, and having all of the course expenses paid for by the employer while still being paid a full-time wage was an additional bonus point of interest.”
Benfakir, who was accepted into the program, currently works at Pioneer Service as a CNC machinist apprentice. He likes the ability to immediately apply what he is learning in class.
“My favorite part of the program is the direct relevance of my classes to my everyday tasks on the job,” he said. “Since day one, my mentor has been very flexible, knowing my limitations in being new to the field, and often takes the initiative to help me challenge myself to continue to learn and try new things.
“Additionally, I was impressed by how COD and my employer worked together to provide me with all the resources that I needed to excel both in school and on the job.”
After earning his CNC Operations certificate, Benfakir plans to further his skills in CNC programming and mechanical drafting/design. He is thankful to Project Hire-Ed and COD for enabling him to work at a company where he sees himself as a long-term employee with a steady salary.
“Being an immigrant to the U.S., I came to realize that education and work experience are key elements to building and growing in a CNC operating and programming career,” he said. “The Project Hire-Ed program and COD have both allowed me to pursue an education and a career in a field that traditionally requires extensive hands-on experience.
“I would advise potential students to find a balance between work and school and to not be afraid to ask for help at either one. All of the program staff and employers want you to succeed and will help you to achieve your goal.”