Meet Justin - an Aerospace Apprentice
"I may have had a past that I am not proud of, but I have been making-up for lost time. It is really amazing now to actually have a vision of the potential that is in store for me if I continue with my work at Pioneer and the apprenticeship program.”
Justin comes from a big family on Beacon Hill. He has ten sisters and brothers and learned how to fend for himself at an early age. His mom worked days and his father worked nights so he didn’t have a lot of adult supervision growing up. By third grade he was already getting into fights at school to fit into a racially diverse student population.
By his freshman year he was involved in gangs, drinking and drugs and was kicked out of school. Justin decided not to go back to school and started working at a car garage. Unfortunately, he fell deeper into drugs and a criminal life to support his lifestyle. At 19 years old he went to prison with a 14-year sentence that was challenged and reduced to four years.
Upon Justin’s release he was sent to a work release in Seattle operated by Pioneer. He had a change of heart in work release and really wanted to get a job and straighten his life out but no one was hiring him. Then one day the corrections officer at the work release announced over the P.A. system that Pioneer Industries was hiring for positions in manufacturing. He immediately applied, was hired and started in an entry level position deburring aerospace parts.
“At Pioneer, I realized I had the opportunity to really apply myself on the manufacturing floor and learn every machine and tool. They were giving me a chance to succeed and I was using every minute to refine my skills.” Justin was like a sponge that couldn’t soak up information fast enough and his skill set grew over the following months. Finally his efforts and skills were noticed and he was promoted to a lead position.
However, one night his friends talked him into going to a bar where a fight broke out and he was stabbed. Justin was looking at facing the possibility of a 10+-year sentence in prison. Instead, his supervisor at Pioneer fought for him with his corrections officer and he was sent back to live in work release for a violation. He was able to stay employed at Pioneer and he was ordered to get engaged in recovery meetings. “I had a real defining moment in my life when I was about to be sent back to prison. I realized I almost threw my life away when I knew I could succeed if I was given the option to continue my work and training.”
Since then Justin has continued to grow personally and professionally. He also has taken his sobriety very seriously, regularly attending NA meetings and surrounding himself with friends and co-workers who are clean and sober. He also credits his strong Christian faith for leading him on his road to recovery.
Pioneer promoted Justin again to a Boeing Tech Lead and over a year ago nominated Justin into the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee program. He is now a CNC machinist and in three more years he will be a master machinist/journeyman. He plans to continue his education and enroll in the tool and die making program after he graduates. His success is our success.