Career Specialist Stephanie Robinson reports on her customer. “Todd Tapp was “laid off” from Airtex Products in December 2015. He and his wife were both affected by the layoff and both were terrified for what the future would hold for their family of four. Todd attended a workshop and thought that his best option would be to attend school to develop his skills, while receiving TRA payments from IDES during his training,” Stephanie explains.
“In June 2016, Todd enrolled in the Welding Degree program at Rend Lake College. Todd worked very hard during the program to maintain good grades. Even though he and his family were struggling financially, Todd always made school a top priority. In May 2018, Todd completed his Welding Degree with a GPA of 3.48. Since Todd had already found employment before graduation, he was able to return to work and utilize his degree as soon as he completed his training program,” Stephanie adds.
“Todd now works full-time for Continental Tire in Mt. Vernon, Illinois as a Mechanical Technician. He is earning $7.00 more per hour than his former job at Airtex. Todd is very happy with his new position and his family is finally getting back to a good place financially,” Stephanie reports.
Todd had the following to say about his experience:
“In most cases when you hear someone say their getting ready to go to college, generally you would assume that they have just graduated high school and are looking to follow their dreams they have been thinking about since they were kids, but unfortunately that’s not always the case, some of us are forced to make a decision that isn’t that simple.
In the summer of 2015, my wife, our friends and work family learned that Airtex in Fairfield, Illinois was closing its doors, and taking our jobs to Mexico. Needless to say, we were all in shock and scared to say the least. What were we all gonna do? How were we gonna pay our bills, raise our children? In December, just two weeks before Christmas, I clocked out for the last time.
In the weeks following, I pondered on what to do, attended a workshop about going back to school and our options. After the workshop I remember coming home and speaking with my wife, was this even gonna be possible, how could we possibly make it? We decided to take a few weeks and think it over and after the new year came, talking to endless friends and family, I knew it was gonna be tough, but school was the best option for my family.
Walking into Man-Tra-Con I was still up in the air on what I really wanted to do. I knew that welding was in high demand, but had never done it but just a few times. When I met Stephanie Robinson for the first time, she was very helpful and explained it to me in great detail. She made the process go very smooth for me. From day one at school till the very end, if I ever had any questions, she was always there to support me. Having your family there for you is amazing, but having a complete stranger cheering you on and telling you “good job” means a lot and I will always be grateful for what Man-Tra-Con and Stephanie did for me and my family. Thanks for turning a very bad situation into a very good life changer for myself, and my family.
Today, I am a Mechanical Technician in Maintenance for Continental Tire. My family is doing better and we’re slowly getting back to a good place where we can be comfortable again. I graduated with a Welding Degree and my Machining Certificates with a 3.48 GPA. Thank you again Man-Tra-Con and the TRA program for helping this 40 year old get back on the right track.”
Todd A. Tapp