Juan Ortiz, Automotive Service Technician Graduate, 2016
Gold Wrench Award, Best Attendance Award and Best Shop Skills Award
Flat Rate Tech at Balise Chevrolet of Warwick
“It is never too late or too early to start learning, if you are going to love what you do. You are going to learn at MTTI what you need to know to make money right away. If you work hard enough, you will get what you want—you will accomplish your dreams.”
"Juan is an asset. Great attitude and always willing to work hard. (MTTI provides a) good baseline education."— Dale Hebert, Service Director
Balise Chevrolet of Warwick
Juan started working on cars and trucks early in life.
His uncle bought a truck with major engine problems. Juan hung around in his uncle’s friend’s garage, watching the repairs; his uncle offered to teach him. Juan, not yet 13, thought, “Maybe I’m too young.”
Apparently he was not too young—he began making friends with different mechanics and learning everything he could from them. “I would go from one mechanic to another to find work—they would pay me a small amount. When I got my driver’s license at 17, I bought my first car with the money I had made.”
Juan came to the United States from the Dominican Republic just before turning 12. He felt that he had a responsibility to his dad and younger brother and sister. (Juan’s mom joined them about a year-and-a-half ago.) Juan had seen the poverty of people in his home country—and how they would live in the moment, spending money as quickly as they made it. He wanted to make more of himself. “Even without parents telling me to get up to go to High School, I was never late.”
“When you learn automotive skills ‘in the street’ you can get the job done, but it is not always the right way."
"Before I came to MTTI, I was getting paid a little to work on cars—but I was doing it more because I liked it than for the money. I first heard about MTTI while in High School, from a Representative who came to our Career Day. “
“I looked into other schools, but their programs cost more money. I read about MTTI’s Auto program on the website, and I talked to guys I knew who had graduated from the school. Then I toured the school and talked with the Auto Instructors, Rich and Glen. “
“My first week in class seemed kind of slow for me—the program started with the basics. Even though I knew the basics, I only scored a 62 on the first test (hands tools). I knew the names of the tools in Spanish, but not in English! I recognized I had to pay more attention to the book work so that I could test well. I studied more for the next test and did better.”
“While I was going to school, I also worked on cars. I got out of class at 3:30, went home, ate something, changed and went to work."
Sometimes I borrowed a lift to work on a car—so I had to finish the job on the same day—often working until midnight or 1:00 am. Still, I would jump every morning to get up for school. I don’t want to get stuck—I want to do better for myself.”
“Towards the end of the program, I interned at Balise in Warwick."
"I have experience working on Hondas, so I decided I wanted to learn to work on domestic cars. Everything at Balise is computerized—the dealership is very organized.”
“During the internship, I replaced injectors on diesel engines, replaced pistons and pistons rings; replaced a power steering pump, did a ball joint job plus replaced two shock absorbers”.
“I was hired at the end of internship. I started at flat rate right away—getting paid by the job instead of by the hour. I do a mix of jobs: brakes, axle bearings, suspensions, electric problems, recalls and maintenance. The only thing I haven’t done yet on Chevrolets is to rebuild a transmission. I am also doing online training from home, to learn the General Motors way of doing things.”
“At MTTI, if you read the book and pay attention in class you will learn the theory well."
"I was always paying attention. I loved the hands-on learning in the shop—the teachers give you lots of opportunity to work on whatever you want to learn. You can work on a car you bring in, or on other students’ cars, and on cars that MTTI staff and people from the community bring for repair or maintenance. This is the time for you to screw it up, when you have instructors who will help you make it right.”
“It is almost impossible NOT to get hired out of MTTI’s program."
If someone doesn’t get hired, it is because they didn’t try hard enough. No job is too hard—you just have to try harder to get it done.”
“I live in the present but I think about the future. I have things I want to accomplish. I’m a country boy—I’d like to continue to live in Providence, but have a place in the Dominican Republic that I can visit. I’d like to have kids while still young, maybe in the next five years. Someday, I might like to start my own business. My biggest and first goal has been to get a job and make money to earn a reasonable living. I am doing that now. ”
“It is never too late or too early to start learning, if you are going to love what you do. Whether you have to take classes in the day or night—even if you have to work while going to school—do it. You are going to learn at MTTI what you need to know to make money right away. If you work hard enough, you will get what you want—you will accomplish your dreams.”