Valley Glen - - Never under estimate what a second chance can do for an individual. Take the case of Michael Taylor, a recent graduate of the Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) Manufacturing Academy.
Mr. Taylor was referred to LAVC’s Job Training Program by Shaun Pruett of New Directions, a non-profit agency dedicated to assisting veterans. Since 1992, New Directions has helped thousands of homeless vets get back on their feet via temporary housing opportunities, counseling, and job training referrals. Mr. Taylor's encounter with New Directions provided him with the second chance he desperately needed.
In August of 2010, Mr. Taylor ran into some legal issues with the law and subsequently lost his job as a heavy equipment operator, a position he previously held for nine years. Soon after, his life began a downward spiral. “I eventually lost everything I owned,” he said. "I found myself broke, homeless, and divorced. I ended up in hospitals and in jail over and over again.”
It was through the court system that he was sent to New Directions.
Prepared to make the changes in his life necessary for transformation, Mr. Taylor started attending the New Directions’ job clubs and inquired about training. Since he loved mechanics and welding, he felt that a new career in the industrial vocations would be a good fit. With the help of Shaun Pruett, Mr. Taylor began doing his homework, searching to find a quality training provider. His research showed that jobs in the manufacturing sector were looking pretty good. “I got on the Internet and saw that everyone needed a CNC Machinist. That is how I picked LAVC; the program had the hours and schedule I needed to become an entry level machinist. “
After a visit and tour of LAVC’s machine shop, he immediately expressed his interest in attending training. He recalled when he was younger that he enjoyed building high performance engines as a hobby, hence the machine shop environment seemed like a good place to land.
Once training commenced, he took to the program like a fish in water. Usually the first to arrive and last to leave campus, Mr. Taylor worked his new vocation with much pride. He diligently operated the milling machines, working on personal projects after he completed his class “C” Clamp project. He also spent several hours on the HAAS simulators to write new codes to customize his work. After earning the respect of his classmates, he was asked to help customize their parts as well.
On March 8, Mr. Taylor was one of three graduates from the Manufacturing Academy to speak at the graduation. He thanked the staff and told his peers and guests that “the training was a life-changing experience.”
Currently, Mr. Taylor is employed by Implant Direct, a manufacturer of dental implants used by patients world-wide. He operates sophisticated Star screw machines which shape and thread the micro-screw implants. Commenting on his new career (where he works on the double spindle lathe), Mr. Taylor reports, “I really love it. Working at Implant Direct has opened my eyes; I am working with some awesome stuff. It’s a lot more than X, Y, and Z. They have micro-boring tooling that make holes in the implants as small as .012 thousands of an inch. There is a lathe machine that is tuned up to make adjustments down to a millionth of an inch!”
The program's director, Roberto Gutierrez, sums up the success of Michael Taylor when he says, "We wish Michael all the best and thank him for being such an inspiration to all of us!"