After Electrolux in St. Cloud closed, about 750 long-time employees had a couple options: find another job or get started on a career change. For those who wanted to switch careers, SCTCC was ready to help students get started, and two students in the Medium/Heavy Truck program shared why they chose to come here.
Jeremy Stephanie and Mohamud Ahmed Mohamud had both spent more than ten years at Electrolux in a job they were comfortable in when the manufacturing company closed.
“What was I going to do? What was my future going to be like? What DID I want to do?” Jeremy asked himself.
This was a chance to look back on what he’d always wanted to do since he was a kid: be a mechanic. The Medium/Heavy Truck program provided the way for him to reach that goal.
For Jeremy, being a part of the program is like having a second family: “There’s great camaraderie with a good group of guys.” And he likes learning, too. “I like that we get in depth on everything; it’s not as simple as you think.”
Of course, there were some hesitations on his part. He’s 31 and has a family with a baby on the way, and he felt like he had to start like he was just out of high school. “There were feelings and emotions you had to get used to again,” he explained.
But Jeremy’s got his goals in sight: to do better for himself, his friends, and his family.
Mohamud’s motivation for starting the Medium/Heavy Truck program was a little different: he’d already had some experience with mechanic work. During his time at Electrolux, he did a lot of similar work, and while he was in high school, he worked at a garage for his family.
After losing his job, he was a little bit confused. “I liked working at Electrolux,” he said. Taking stock of his options and background, he figured he needed to go get a degree. Why SCTCC? He’d lived in St. Cloud for 13 years, and many of his friends graduated from the college, so he’d heard many good things.
“I knew SCTCC was a good school.” And having the Medium/Heavy Truck program helped, too. He visited SCTCC to learn about what programs the College offered, and chose Medium/Heavy Truck because he had a background in it.
Mohamud, like Jeremy, had a tough time preparing to go back to school – “I was taking it kind of hard because it’d been 10 years since I was in school,” he explained.
But he’s keeping his future goals in mind. Being a self-proclaimed family guy with a wife and six children, Mohamud’s immediate goal is getting a better job, and his long-term goal is to open his own shop.
Jeremy and Mohamud are just two former Electrolux employees who have jumpstarted a new career at SCTCC. Overall, the College welcomed 70 students who indicated they worked at Electrolux prior to starting.
While the Electrolux closure put a lot of people out of work, the good news is that the St. Cloud area manufacturing industry is thriving, and there are several opportunities beyond a replacement job for those willing to pursue it. The paths that Jeremy and Mohamud took show that it’s never too late to go back to school, especially when your family and future are waiting for you.