Ashley Duarte, 2018 Computer Service Technician / Network Installer Graduate
Slot Technician at Plainridge Park Casino
Why did I come to MTTI after I took computer courses at a Community College?
Colleges are academic schools. I took a broad range of courses, including computer programming and networking, game development, computer information systems and computer forensics.
I could have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science over four to five years.
I still would not have been able to repair a computer, because I would not have worked on one.
I wanted to start a hands-on Computer & Networking Career.
I had experience providing Customer Care, and also as an Assistant Manager in an electronics store. I was doing some freelance work in IT Support / PC Support and Repair—mostly for friends and family. But I felt my work life was going nowhere.
Sometimes life gives you a sign.
I saw MTTI advertised on a billboard—once, twice. I told myself, that if I saw it three times, I was going to ‘go do it’—check this place out. After I saw MTTI on another billboard in a different location I made a visit to the school.
MTTI is a hands-on career and technical school.
During the 7-month program I gained experience installing, troubleshooting and repairing PCs. I learned to support and configure Apple iMac/iPad and Android; and did some networking.
The first week in school we built a computer.
Putting together a computer from scratch, I learned a lot about the components. I was excited knowing that after going to work, I would be able to keep the computer.
My instructor, Boris, took the extra step to make sure we understood the material.
First he explained thoroughly everything we were going to do in the lab. Then he would have us do it ourselves so that we really learned it. If I didn’t understand something, he didn’t make me feel ‘wrong’; he re-directed me to the right information.
The class was like an open repair shop for staff and students.
We gained additional experience from installing, troubleshooting and repairing devices that people brought to us. I installed a new hard drive on one laptop. For another laptop, while troubleshooting the display port on the monitor, I identified that a broken bezel was causing the LCD to not function.
I also learned to remove viruses and malware.
When I began the program, I was my own first client—my personal computer was infected!
I interned for the State of Rhode Island.
I got a lot of hands-on experience at the corporate level—employers look for this kind of experience. Working on Active Directory was big; you have to get it up and running to have security. I learned more about setting up Users and Group Policy; Wide-Scale Operating System (OS) Imaging; and Deployment of Thin Clients.
The internship was a fabulous preparation for transition into the workforce.
I set up new hires for the Department of Administration and Human Services, provided IT Support to the back-end of the system, and Help Desk Support to employees. I became confident using the IT Ticket system to look into problems, and then responding to them. You have to know what you are doing when working at the corporate level of the State—there is no room for mistakes.
I applied to be a Slot Technician at Plainridge Park Casino.
While I was interning, my Career Services Rep, Shawn, sent me a link to apply for this great position.
I was hired—after going through a detailed, four-week process to ‘vet’ me for the position.
I had to pass state and national background checks, a drug test, intensive financial scrutiny and a telephone interview with a State Trooper. The process took longer, and was more in depth than is typical for many other positions. The Gaming Commission is vigilant about looking for fraud, larceny and bankruptcy.
Learning on the job at the Casino has been interesting and fun.
I had the pleasure of learning from the first Slot Technician at this facility; he taught me a lot.
What I learned at MTTI transferred to this new position.
The hands-on experience of putting together a computer, and learning the components, was great preparation for my work as a Slot Technician. It is top priority when a machine malfunctions to quickly repair it—particularly when a patron is using it.The Casino wants customers to have a good experience and to enjoy themselves.
My customer service background has served me well.
Often, I’ll open a slot machine to repair the problem, while the patron is right next to me. I might repair a fan, re-boot the voucher machine, repair a jammed lock, adjust the reels or calibrate the touch pad screen. Once I needed to re-solder a wire that was crimped and had broken.
The Casino has ‘mystery shoppers’ who observe and rate you.
Fortunately, I like going out on the floor and engaging with patrons. I enjoy going above and beyond to provide help to customers.
MTTI helped me accomplish my career goals.
The staff is awesome—attending MTTI is different than college. Staff here say ‘good morning’ and ask ‘how you are doing?’ ‘Do you need technical assistance?’ ‘How’s your job search going?’ The resume writing workshop and practicing mock interviews made us workforce ready. What college would do all of that?
The program is also fun!
MTTI offers very extensive hands-on training. If you come to school and apply yourself, there are more than enough resources to get employed—MTTI knows what employers want. I recommend this school to anyone who is looking forward to starting a new career.
Photos of Ash at his worksite are courtesy of Plainridge Park Casino.
Plainridge Park Casino
301 Washington St, Plainville, MA 02762
Phone: (508) 576-4500