Story from Jim Haugli, State Director of Florida’s Farmworker Career Development Program
Diego Brito enrolled in the Orange County Farmworker Career Development Program (FCDP) on January 12, 2015. He came from Mexico as a young boy and is the only sibling to graduate high school and to continue his education. Diego has four much older brothers and one younger than himself.
Diego contacted the FCDP office and made an appointment to come in. The office expedited his paperwork and he was approved for the program. Diego went home and shared the good news with his mother. She knew that not having Diego’s current salary would put a hardship on her family financially, but she saw the excitement in his eyes and told him, “If this is really what you want then do it…..do something better with your life son.”
Diego exhibits all the qualities of a great employee. He has a passion for learning and creating great works of welding art. He helps his peers and mentors new students. Throughout his tenure in class, he had the opportunity to build many projects. He chose to use this new found knowledge of welding and welding art sculpting at METAL MORPHISIS, a business located in Winter Garden, Florida.
Diego’s welding practice was real-world which made his daily practice in welding realistic and challenging. Diego welcomes constructive criticism when other students would become defensive. He felt it was a way to fine tune his knowledge and skills in welding fabrication. Diego often said, “You cannot go to the store and buy a bag of knowledge or experience. It has to be earned by practicing every day.”
After completing the welding program at Westside Tech, Diego started working at Metal Morphisis, LLC as a welder making $12.50 an hour. After 2 months his pay was raised to $14.00 an hour. This is very rare for a student fresh out of class (a greenhorn) to earn these frequent pay raises. Diego wants to continue working during the day and attend Seminole State College at night to earn his degree in Business Management. His dream is to open his own welding company someday.
His instructor said, “Diego is one of the many talented and structured students to attend my program at Westside Campus. His eagerness to learn and love for the trade of welding will make him successful and take him to new boundaries with great rewards.”
Diego said, “Every step of my welding career has been a personal achievement. If it wasn’t for programs like the Farmworkers Program I don’t know where I would be today. I’m living proof the program does work.”
Diego was chosen as the Florida Farmworker Career Development Program Participant of the Year. He was honored at the FCDP Annual Conference in August in Orlando.