Major: Project Hire-Ed
After working in the insurance industry, Jason Patrick began seeking opportunities in the technology field.
With a family to support, the only way he could pursue an education toward a new career path was to find full-time employment. He stumbled upon Project Hire-Ed, an apprenticeship program at College of DuPage, where he had previously taken welding classes.
“Project Hire-Ed was exactly what I was looking for,” he said. “This program provided me the opportunity to continue my education in an accelerated format toward a certificate as well as work full time in industrial maintenance, receive benefits and gain the necessary experience I needed to further my career.”
The College launched Project Hire-Ed to address what business leaders believe is missing in the skills set of recent applicants and from the workforce. The initiative focuses on classroom curriculum, on-the-job training and employment in today’s marketplace.
Patrick has built upon his problem solving skills while working in a fast-paced environment at Mauser Packaging, which has reinforced what he has learned while attending COD.
“I have had many opportunities to troubleshoot while on the job,” he said. “It has been beneficial to be in the Project Higher-Ed program because my employer knows that while I am full time, I am also an apprentice in training.
“At COD, my favorite lab was Refrigeration Principles with Bob Clark. He provided real-world examples as well as a pace required in a true work environment. Additionally, he has a good sense of humor.”
Patrick’s ultimate goal is to continue his education and experience new avenues in the tech field. He would recommend the Project Hire-Ed program to prospective students as a valuable opportunity to gain a first-class education while working full time in their chosen field.
“Typically, one would have to pursue education followed by an exhaustive search for an opening while having no experience. The Project Higher-Ed program allows for both concurrently, which to me is a rare opportunity in today’s job market. I feel I have gained a solid foundation and will continue to grow both educationally and professionally. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”