Farmworker Career Development Program

Collier County, Florida

Juan Aguilar grew up in LaBelle, Florida where his parents were seasonal farm workers. They provided for him and his siblings by picking citrus seasonally. They worked in Michigan and other states in the summer to make ends meet. Juan knows the fields and camps as he worked and lived in them himself as a farm worker child. Juan completed high school in 2008 and went to what was familiar to him: farm work.

Juan was accepted into the Heavy Equipment Mechanics Program at Immokalee Technical Center on May 8, 2014. He was scheduled to start the program on August 18, 2014, but he could not afford to go to school. Juan was referred to the Farmworker Career Development Program(FCDP) and  he qualified for services as a seasonal farm worker. Juan received funding assistance from the FCDP to cover fees not covered by Pell that allowed him to start Heavy Equipment Mechanics Program.

From the beginning, Juan was an ‘example student’ according to his instructor. He learned his work ethic from his parents who were not educated individuals, but hardworking migrant and seasonal farm workers. He was selected for a summer internship after his first year of training. Juan received funding assistance for tools required for summer internship from FCDP. Juan remained a dedicated and hardworking student until receiving his Certificate of Completion from Immokalee Technical College for successfully completing 1800 hours of training in Heavy Equipment Mechanics in 2016. Prior to program completion, Juan received several job offers from very prestigious employers including US Sugar, Synergy, Linder and Willis Ford. He accepted a position with the employer at the top of his list: Ring Power Corporation. Juan was offered a position as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic with Ring Power Corporation in Orlando, Florida starting at $ 19.00 per hour. Juan is a great example for all but in particular for those who come from a disadvantaged background and dream of a better future.

Juan was recognized for his accomplishments by being selected as the Achievement Award Recipient at the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board 2016 Awards Ceremony.