Real stories from real students — of academic, personal and professional success, and how you can achieve it too!
Too often we hear stories of post-military struggles and failures of our veterans returning home. But there are also veteran success stories that need to be heard as well. RRCC graduates succeed and enter the HVAC industry bringing new ideas and high energy to their jobs. Their never-ending determination, hope and perseverance are truly inspirational to us all.
My name is Carletta Ramirez. I’m 27 years, from Colton California and a wife and mother of two. I honorably served in the United States Navy for 4 years and I’m currently a HVAC Field Technician. I owe it all to the wonderful staff of Retail Ready Career Center. They were so helpful and dedicated in my knowledge in the HVAC field as well as landing me a job. My experience there was nothing less than amazing. I bond
ed with many fellow classmates and it felt as though we were a family trying to accomplish the same goal. Going to retail ready and learning this skill was one of the best decisions I ever made.
“I absolutely love my employers. They are great people and I am very lucky to have found them. Or I should say I am very lucky that my amazing [placement] counselor Jenn Tutt was able to find them. 🙂 Or my fantastic enrollment counselor Brandon Muniz. Without his phone call I never would have thought to sign up. From my beginning at Retail Ready, to where I am right now, I couldn’t have done any of it without al
l of you at RRCC. So thank you all so much for believing in me!”
Before coming to Retail Ready Career Center, Dustin Adams was a warehouse worker in the oil field. As the industry began its economic decline, Adams decided he needed something new. He needed something we all need at one point or another; a fresh start.
After being contacted by an admissions representative at Retail Ready, Dustin decided that this could be the new beginning he had been searching for.
ed while in school. His favorite aspect of training, like most of our technicians, was working in our live HVAC labs. Of course you can’t possibly learn every single thing about HVAC in just 6 weeks, but he said that RRCC’s hands-on approach to teaching helped him quickly pick up new concepts once on the job.
Dustin graduated from Retail Ready on a Friday in April 2015, and started his new career the following Monday with Gossett Air Conditioning in Spring, Texas. At the time, Retail Ready’s Maintenance Ready Tech Program was fairly new, and contractors were skeptical of our training, so Adams said he “…really had to prove himself to his boss, and his fellow technicians”. He had no problems earning their trust and respect, because just one week after he started, he was sent on solo missions in his own company truck. Dustin even sold a full air conditioning unit in his first few weeks on the job, using the soft skills he was taught while in RRCC’s program.
Now, with a little over a year of work under his belt, Dustin says he still loves working in HVAC, and has some advice for new technicians, “Always keep a clean shirt and deodorant in the truck, you and your next customer will be grateful”.
All jokes aside, Adams believes that working in HVAC is hard work that you can be proud of every time you get a paycheck. He also enjoys how independent he gets to be on the job, and that it provides him with the chance to spend more time with his family. For Dustin, his new career isn’t just a fresh start, it is a breath of fresh air; literally.
Mark Purifoy served his country as a sailor (E4) in the US Navy. In 2014 he separated from the service and moved to Oak Harbor, WA. Mark took a job with a local refrigeration company. While employed, Mark began having car trouble that caused him not to get to work on time. The refrigeration company later laid him off. Unemployed and looking for an opportunity to earn a living and provide for his family, Mark heard about RRCC H
VAC Maintenance Ready Tech program from Safarian Butler, Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist. Once enrolled in RRCC, he settled into the intense HVAC training program and excelled as a student.
During the job placement assistance process Mark decided that the Dallas area had a vibrant job market, so he decided to relocate his family to Dallas from Oak Harbor Washington. With the help of his Student Service Counselor, Mark had two interviews and accepted an offer from a DFW area refrigeration company.
RRCC CEO/President Jon Davis played a key role in supporting Mark’s relocation to Dallas. Mr. Davis provided financial support to relocate Mark and his family to Dallas, TX and referred Mark to our partners at Family Endeavors. Family Endeavors caseworker Destiny Greene-Hays worked efficiently to arrange for Mark and his family to stay in a Dallas hotel while making permanent accommodation arrangements in an area apartment. Mark Purifoy and his family now live in Dallas and he works as a Service Technician with ALMCOE Refrigeration.
RRCC wishes Mark and his family the very best. Special thanks to DVOP specialist Safarian Butler of Worksource Whidbey for referring Mark to RRCC and Family Endeavors for offering their housing assistance program to Mark and other veterans like him.
After being medically discharged from the United States Army, Mike Glavin had a few different jobs, but none of them he could see as a career. One day after putting his children to bed, he was browsing on Facebook and an ad for Retail Ready Career Center popped up. After watching the videos and reading some reviews, Mike decided to call and enroll. “I have always been one to disassemble and reassemble things, to see how they
work,” he said. “We took a very nice bus to our hotel when I first got to TX. I was amazed that we weren’t put two to a room (at) the hotel. The next day was day one, we arrived at the school and I was nervous. I didn’t know anything about HVAC, but being former military, ‘quit’ wasn’t in my vocabulary,” Mike describes. “Tools and iPads were issued next, school isn’t looking so bad. My instructor was Doyle who is the most technical instructor in the school. There is not a thing about HVAC this man does not know. We actually went on the roof to the condensers to do checks on day one.” When asked about the pace of the program, Mike said “You will gain a lot of knowledge everyday so you can’t be a slacker. You came there for a career. You will gain 2 years of knowledge in 6 weeks so to get the most out of it, you need to study every night and with your classmates.” Mike’s Placement Counselors worked on his resume from day one and he had 4 interviews while enrolled. “My counselor has stuck by me since day one to ensure I get a job and is still in touch,” Mike said. Mike’s HVAC Instructors turned Mike from someone who knew nothing about the HVAC Industry to someone who can conduct a clean and check, rewire a system, leak check a system, disassemble and reassemble a system, etc. When asked about the staff of RRCC, Mike said “Now, as far as the President, Jon Davis, his vision is amazing. He is ensuring any veteran out there has a place to come and get the skills needed to be an HVAC technician and assistance in finding employment. He is a great man.” When Mike returned home after graduation, he found his car had serious issues making it un-driveable.
“Mr. Davis sent me a check to get the car fixed to ensure I could make it to my interview and my job,” Mike describes. Mike went on to challange others who might be considering RRCC, “So take a minute and ask yourself ‘Is your current job a career?’ if not, check out RRCC. You won’t regret it.”
tthew left the Navy and enlisted into the Mississippi National Guard Special Operations Prepatory Course as a Special Forces candidate. He excelled in all facets of training and was selected to attend Special Forces Assessment & Selection 3 months ahead of his peers.
Putting his new family first, Matthew put his dreams of a Special Forces career on hold to enlist in the Army as a 12B Combat Engineer. He served as Squad Leader in Afghanistan until an injury forced his re-deployment. Matthew was selected ahead of senior NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers) to be the Rear Detachment NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) upon his unit’s next deployment to Afghanistan. While in this capacity, a series of medical procedures and severe illnesses forced the Army to medically retire Matthew. Matthew was medically retired from the Army in December 2014 due to multiple injuries obtained in the line of duty. He stated he has been living in “hell on earth.” Matthew’s injuries and related illnesses have affected Matthew’s short-term memory. Doctors explained to Matthew that his neurotransmitters need to repair themselves, and the more he uses his brain the quicker that would happen. Due to his injuries, Matthew was not able to work. He became homeless and moved in with his brother. With the memory loss and pain, Matthew pushed himself to work out, eat and sleep when he could. He was miserable.
Matthew got a call from a RRCC Admissions Counselor and was immediately interested in getting his EPA & NATE certifications. He signed up for the March 2nd HVAC class. Matthew finally felt hopeful and started planning for his future. Matthew attended Retail Ready Career Center’s HVAC Maintenance Ready Tech program March 2, 2015. With five years of HVAC experience in the Navy, RRCC instructors saw Matthew’s potential week one of training. Students noticed him thriving in class and his capabilities in the hands-on-lab. Matthew started tutoring his classmates and helping those with no experience catch up. He expressed his desire to work for RRCC as an Instructor with his Job Placement Specialist.
While he attended the 10-hour day/ 5 day a week, intense HVAC program, his memory started getting better. Since he was actively using his mind by learning a vast amount of information, he noticed the positive, progressive changes in his memory. He graduated April 10, 2015 with a Universal EPA Certification and (6) NATE Certifications. We are excited to bring Matthew on board as an HVAC Instructor after he relocates from Mississippi. Matthew looks forward to teaching fellow veterans the trade. He stated, “The only thing I’m worried about is remembering my students’ names!”
During the 15 years Matthew served in the military, he learned self discipline, reliability and military bearing; yes sir, no sir, respect, move on smartly, and not to loose control. These skills have helped him transition into civilian life. Matthew stated, “Veterans struggle getting out of the military and struggle in civilian world. There is comradery at Retail Ready Career Center. Fresh out, you can excel because you are with other vets that have your back. You work as a unit.” Matthew advises military servicemen and women to take advantage of college credits while on active duty. “Don’t be lazy. Get it done. It will better your life in the long run,” he said.
When asked, what advice do you have for transitioning servicemen and women that want to enter the HVAC field, Mathew stated, “If you are mechanically inclined, come here (RRCC). Use your GI Bill® to get your HVAC certifications and your tools. After getting any kind of education, when you go look for a job, employers are looking for experience. Retail Ready Career Center helps you find a job with a contractor that understands the hands on experience that you learn while in training. When you’re on your own, it’s difficult. Retail Ready Career Center will open that door for you.”
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