A Promising Career at an Engineering Firm Thanks to Job Corps Training

Maritza Santiago arrives at work in Hartford, Connecticut, ready to make a difference.

“Maritza is a shining star,” says Ryan Watson, vice president of engineering and operations at Belcan. “I could show you email after email from customers about how great she is.”

Maritza, a graduate of Hartford Job Corps, works at Belcan, a leading aerospace company in Hartford.

“When I first got here, they were so open-minded, so kind-hearted that you walk in, it doesn’t feel like you’re walking into a job, it feels like you’re walking into a family.”

Maritza is an engineering assistant and tackles logistics and other important projects.

“They come in extremely qualified,” adds Ryan. “Job Corps has a great program where their Excel skills are unmatched.”

Ryan says he’s impressed with the quality of Job Corps graduates.

“We get customer MFA, so feedback from our customer of how each of our employee does. And the customer MFA coming back on the Job Corps guys and girls is that they are just exceptional and again, it’s that attitude, their willingness to learn, their willingness to take that extra step.”

Maritza, who’s been employed at Belcan for a year and a half, is one of about a dozen Job Corps graduates working at the engineering company. And Ryan says they plan to hire more.

“This is going to be a flow of resources for us going forward. We’re always looking new, young talent that we can bring in and develop from the ground up.”

These jobs require certifications and rigorous training. And that’s why they hire college graduates and those who’ve been through Job Corps.

“We are actually not allowed to hire students out of high school,” explains Ryan. “They have to have some sort of training to come in…The baseline expectations of understanding how businesses are run, understanding core elements like Excel—Job Corps does a good job of preparing them with that.”

For Maritza, Job Corps has been heaven sent.

“I’m able to support, I would say a family and a half. I’m able to help my mother and my grandfather, which is one family, and my sister and my nephew, which is another family. And there’s my own family that I’m able to help with…I highly recommend Job Corps for anybody who wants to move forward but don’t know how to. And that’s where I was. Because I didn’t know how to move forward, but Job Corps helped me with that.”