Student Spotlight: Peter Carta
Peter Carta was the kid who took everything apart.
"I had to know how things were made and how they worked," he said. "I have always thought the best job for me would be one that is not only mentally engaging, but also gives me a lot of hands-on opportunities."
Carta received an Electronics Technology certificate from Triton College and worked as an electronics technician at an X-ray equipment factory. It provided him with a great introduction to the manufacturing industry, as he worked with assemblers, machinists, sheet metal workers, welders and drafters.
"All of them liked their jobs, and they were happy to talk about their work and to show me some of what they did," he said. "I was even cross-trained as a forklift operator and a quality control inspector. Working there showed me that the manufacturing industry could provide me with an enjoyable and challenging career with plenty of room to grow."
When Carta was laid off from his last job as a print operator, he decided to return to college and pursue a degree in manufacturing. His in-district community college did not offer a Manufacturing program, so he researched nearby schools and selected College of DuPage. He was impressed the minute he set foot on campus.
"This is the first time in my life that I've actually enjoyed school and done this well at it. Everyone I've worked with at COD has been genuinely interested in helping the students to succeed academically and in whatever careers we pursue," he said. "It's not just, 'Here, take these classes, pass these exams, here's your diploma, goodbye.' The instructors make sure that they are teaching us current industry practices and skills, and not just reciting out of some textbook.
"Jim Filipek is a conscientious program coordinator and an advocate for his students. Everyone who I've spoken with considers Alison Greene an invaluable resource, especially when dealing with scholarships, grants and job placement. Everyone here wants you to succeed."
Carta plans to earn his Associate in Applied Science degree and his Welding Technology certificate by the end of 2014. His immediate career priority is finding a job as a machine operator or welder apprentice. While he's still learning about what opportunities are available within the industry, he is looking at IIT's Industrial Technology and Management program.
His ultimate career would tie into his long-time obsession with bicycles. He would love to custom-build specialty bikes, such as cargo bikes and utility bikes. Thanks to College of DuPage, Carta feels prepared to tackle his long-range plans.
"You must be ready to learn, be ready to work, and make sure you're here for all your classes," he said. "All of my instructors have started every term with the 'I can't teach you if you aren't here' talk. That is especially true in the Manufacturing program, where you spend at least as much time hands-on in the shops and labs as you do in the classrooms. You can miss a great deal very quickly if you're not here.
"Also, I cannot over-state the importance of math and science skills. I was always one of those 'when am I ever going to need this' students in high school, and I have seen more math, chemistry and physics in the last two years than I would have ever thought possible."
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