Nicole Bakelman, 2016 Building & Property Trades Technician Graduate
Carpenter's Assistant at JP Remodeling in RI
“If you feel you are at a stand-still in your career, MTTI is the place to go. The training gives you hope for a better future. You’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to move forward in the right direction, in the field in which you want to work.”
I was always interested in the building trades.
My grandfather was a handyman; I watched him work in his home shop, while he built shelves for the family.
I wanted a better career to make a better life.
I wasn’t in a good place in my life. I was working in a warehouse; it wasn’t a steady job. It was difficult to pay my bills. I started thinking about going back to school.
A friend and I enrolled together in MTTI’s Building Trades program.
We chose MTTI because we knew a couple of people who had attended different programs.
I was excited to start!
At first, as we progressed from hand tools to using power tools, I felt a little overwhelmed. You have to get comfortable with power tools so that they become like any other tool you use.
Some things were easy, some were rougher to learn.
After the first weeks, it was smooth sailing through the program. The class came together to help each other out. It was fun to interact with other students, and see how different people worked. By the end of the program, we all had more confidence in our abilities.
I began to see myself working in this career.
By the time we had framed, put up sheetrock, installed plumbing and electrical in the module we built—and started the finish work with paint, wallpaper and trim, I felt ready to enter the field.
What I did in school prepared me for internship.
A classmate recommended me to a design-build-remodeling company in Boston. When they accepted me for internship, I felt excited and nervous to be working on real jobs. Quckly, I became comfortable. After internship I continued working as an employee for six months.
We were doing the same work I had done in school.
We built a deck for a Brownstone on Commonwealth Avenue and installed tile for a kitchen backsplash; I helped install windows. The guys on the crew were nice and taught me how they worked in that company. I learned to use the trade language, when talking about tools or laying out measurements and framing--like ‘kings and jacks’ for vertical studs used in framing out roughed openings for windows.
I answered an ad for a small company close to home in Rhode Island.
The owner liked that I had knowledge and training in MTTI’s school program, plus some work experience in Boston. Now I work alongside the owner, remodeling and renovating kitchens and bathrooms; installing windows and doors. We also build decks. I set up the tools, measure for framing and cut boards.
My employer likes that I come prepared to work.
I work hard and am always occupied doing something. I keep everything neat and clean on the job.
I ask questions so that I can get all the knowledge I can about the trade.
I’m continually learning, for example about foundations that are drilled down 48” (something we couldn’t see at school). I can go at my own pace, as long as I am productive.
The work is different every day.
We work both inside and outdoors. It feels freeing compared with the repetition of being in a warehouse job. Seeing that clients are happy with our work is a good feeling. It’s also a good workout—it keeps me fit!
I’m still part of the MTTI Community.
Even two years after I’ve graduated, Erin, the Career Services Specialist for the program, will help me update my resume. She still keeps me on the email list for job opportunities.
When I visit my former Instructor, Pat, he remembers me and is happy to see me.
I appreciate how much Pat cares about the people he teaches. He always gives students his all. He was sometimes hard on us, because he really wanted us to be good at what we do, and be successful in our careers. He definitely pushed me to do my best, which was great. Pat’s training helps me deliver professional quality finish work on the job.
MTTI is a great place to go to start or further your career.
Education is important. The school has many opportunities in different fields for people—wherever they want to go.
MTTI feels different from most schools.
The instructors really care about your well-being. Everybody cares about your future and wants to see you succeed. The smaller classes, plus one-on-one help in the classroom and shop, help you hone your skills. I have recommended the school to lots of people.
I feel proud to see what I have accomplished.
I feel I can accomplish anything. I’m definitely happier in my work and as a person.;
I can see myself in the field long-term, and moving up in the trades.
One day I would like to be a project manager.
This was one of the best decisions I had made in my life.
I wish I could do it all over again!