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What did you love about YA?
One thing that I loved about the YA program was the vast amount of resources and connections that it brought along. Working with Josh to find open employers and positions in my area was super valuable. Finding more advanced opportunities in the industry is tough without experience or a degree but Josh was able to find an amazing opportunity for me at Stoughton Trailers. As for the experience I gained while working at my YA, I would attribute the experience I gained during my YA to my success today. My YA eventually turned into a college level internship and it seemed that the longer I worked in industry, the more connections I was gaining. When I left my first internship I had no worries that I would find a better position that I enjoyed more elsewhere. Overall, the YA program is for students who are interested in applying classroom based knowledge to real world work applications while being paid. The YA opportunities often pay better than most part time work, (in my experience) and on top of that, you’re gaining extremely valuable experience. This experience should be added to resumes and advertised to any new employer. This experience on my resumes has allowed me to fast-track my career.
How did YA influence your plans after high school?
I worked the following year in between my first college semesters as an intern there and had great success. I tried a year of college studying mechanical engineering at UW Milwaukee but it didn’t end up being right for me. I moved back to Madison to attend MATC. I have been in the mechanical design technology program and I have absolutely loved it. I am completing my final semester currently.
I also decided to look for new positions and explore all of my connections and resources that I had accumulated through my time in the industry. I am now a full time mechanical design engineer at an amazing small company. I work for Develop LLC out of Verona, WI and I take lead roles in designing large, custom industrial automated systems for our clients. This is my dream job for now and I believe that a lot of my success has been due to the start that I got as a YA
What do you want others to know about YA?
I think an important thing for any YA to keep in mind is that your first work experiences might not be the end-all-be-all. You might have to use your first positions as stepping stones and this is okay. The idea is that your experience makes you a more valuable employee but that same experience is also teaching you what you do and don’t want in a future position. Experience speaks volumes in the STEM industry.
I believe that because I started gaining real industry experience at such a young age, that is what has allowed me to make a successful living now. I am 21 years old working what I consider to be my dream job and I was able to move out on my own at age 20. This program can really kickstart your career and get you headed in a good direction.
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