When Tanner Papasergi was served a Facebook ad for SUNY Jamestown Community College’s short-term Workforce Development programs last winter, he was doing snow removal for a landscaping company.
He has also had his own sealcoating business during the warmer months, and before that, he was surveying electric poles.
“I’ve had a lot of different jobs figuring out what I wanted to do,” he said.
Cautiously optimistic about the Facebook ad, Papasergi signed up for more information. An hour later, he received a call from a JCC representative. Soon after, he started machining/CNC operator classes.
Two weeks after completing the 10-week program, Papasergi, 30, was hired as a manual machinist by Keystone Tool & Die in Westons Mills.
“I didn’t really have much going on because it was the winter so I decided to take the classes,” he said. “I’m very happy I did.”
“I’m happy with machining,” Papasergi added. “I think I’ll be doing it for a while. There’s a lot still to learn. That’s my favorite part about it.”
After starting his new job in April, Papasergi also completed JCC’s short-term Industrial Maintenance Technician training program because “I figured it would help me throughout life in general.”
Both programs are open to students again starting in February. The machining/CNC operator training runs Feb. 20 to May 19 at JCC’s Cattaraugus County Campus in Olean, while the industrial maintenance technician training runs Feb. 27 to May 19 at the Jamestown Campus.
Gregg Karl, JCC’s Workforce Development program manager, said 80% to 85% of students who complete the training gain immediate full-time employment at local companies in great need of their new skillset. Others opt to continue at JCC for further certifications and degree work.
Like Papasergi, Richard Farr found full-time work after finishing JCC’s Industrial Maintenance Technician program in September. He is a building and construction maintenance technician at Intandem in Olean.
Like Papasergi, Farr, 33, had bounced around to different jobs — mostly construction — before JCC training opened a new career path.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s a lot better.”
At Intandem, Farr has worked with electric motors, metrology, rigging, and blueprint reading — all things covered by the JCC training.
“I worked second shift while taking classes,” he said. “They make it easy for you. They’re good people. It’s a good program.”
Farr had a handful of other promising job interviews lined up before signing on with Intandem. Papasergi, meanwhile, requested a tour of Keystone and was hired on the spot.
In his manual machinist role, Papasergi makes low-volume parts for when it doesn’t make sense to fire up the big machinery for mass production.
He credits the all-around knowledge he gained under instructor Xavier Smith at JCC for helping him pick up the work quickly.
“Once I got the job here I definitely didn’t know everything but it was enough to where I could do most of the simple stuff,” Papasergi said. “And the stuff that was a little more complex I was able to ask somebody and pick up pretty quick because of what I had learned.”
Papasergi recommends the programs to people who “like working with their hands and like something that can be challenging.”
“It’s gratifying,” he said, “when you complete something that was just on a sheet of paper, and then it’s right in front of you.”
Funding may be available for qualified students to cover all or part of the course fees.