Two Students Land Jobs with Parker Aerospace
After losing their jobs due to layoffs and company closures, Sandra Staples and Cheryl Daniel made the decision to go back to school and receive career training; training they hoped would lead to career opportunities and better lives for their families.
After enrolling in Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Electronics and Mechatronics programs, both Staples and Daniel found themselves with a job offer from Parker Hannifin’s Aerospace facility located in Dublin.
The Road to OFTC
“After being laid off from my job as a customer service agent I decided to go back to school,” Daniel said. “I’ve always enjoyed fixing things around the house and when I got laid off I told God if this is what I was supposed to do He would have to lead the way.”
Stepping out in faith, Daniel enrolled in the Mechatronics Technology Associates Degree program at OFTC and began taking classes. “I’ve enjoyed learning a new trade that I love and that can help to better my life and the lives of my family members,” she shared.
Like Daniels, Staples’ decision to go back to school was also unexpected. After leaving her job of 32 years when the company she worked for closed their doors in 2013, she was at a loss. “I started that job when I was 19,” Staples said. “That was the only job I ever had so it was all I knew how to do.”
Knowing she needed to expand her knowledge and develop other skillsets, she decided to go back to school. “Originally, I had no idea what I wanted to enroll in,” she said. After talking with her nieces who both have amazing careers as Electronic Technicians she decided to pursue a career in electronics and enrolled in classes at OFTC.
Training for a Career
Once in classes both Staples and Daniel thrived. “The best part of electronics program was the instructors were so willing to work with me one-on-one if there was anything that I didn’t understand,” Staples shared.
“Sandra was an open vessel and was the driver of her own success,” shared Lee Radney, OFTC Electronics Instructor. “Like many of our students, Sandra found certain tasks easy and some a bit more challenging. But she never hesitated to ask for assistance and she was always willing to devote time and energy into deepening her education and developing her skills.”
While Staples enjoyed learning things like soldering, building continuity testers, and the different types of components and their functions, those tasks weren’t the only things that made her time at OFTC memorable. “The longer I was there I realized the staff at OFTC sincerely cared about their students and wanted each one to succeed,” she said.
Daniel had a similar experience with the people she engaged with in her Mechatronics classes. “I enjoyed getting to know my instructors and fellow students while getting hands on experience in the mechatronics field,” she shared. “Everyone I’ve encountered here is great and always willing to help.”
“I am so thankful that the Lord has led me to this path,” Daniel added. “Through my studies, I have met a lot of great people. Everyone says Mechatronics is not a typical field for women but I say if the Lord leads you to it He will lead you to do great things.”
“Cheryl was not only our first female mechatronic student but our first student to enroll in the mechatronics program,” Radney shared. And that’s not all, Daniel achieved another first for OFTC as the first OFTC mechatronics student to be placed in a job in-field. “She drives herself by one word – ‘achieve,’” Radney said. “And I truly believe that the word ‘achieve’ will follow Cheryl throughout her educational and career journey.”
A Career with Parker
With operations in 50 countries around the world, Parker Hannifin Corporation is the world’s leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of mobile, industrial and aerospace markets.
Not long after both Daniel and Sanders began to excel in their programs at OFTC, they were notified by their instructor about open positions in the Control Systems Division of Parker Aerospace located in Dublin.
This Dublin Operation is a world leader in the design and manufacture of electro-hydraulic servovalves, electro-mechanical control actuation systems, and electronic components for the aerospace and power generation markets.
Daniel applied for an Assembler position and was hired in November. As a new employee, she is currently in the training phase of her job which will include tasks like the assembly of complex electronic components, utilizing schematics and blueprints and validating the assembly to exacting tolerances using various types of measuring devices and equipment, tasks she’s able to do thanks to the skills she learned in OFTC’s Mechatronics program.
“The training I received at OFTC definitely prepared me for this position,” Daniel said, “and I am so glad that I found a career where I can put the skills I’ve learned from OFTC to good use.”
Staples landed her position as an Assembly Tech with Parker over a year ago and has had great success utilizing the skills she learned in OFTC’s Electronics Program.
“This job gives me the chance to showcase some of the electronics skills that I learned at OFTC,” she said. “Currently, on a daily basis I build complex electronic units and I use a multimeter to test each product before sending it through to the next station. I also solder through-hole leads onto a control board.”
And with high requirements by Parker, Staples is confident in her skills and ability to meet and surpass expectations. “Thanks to the outstanding training I received in the electronics program at OFTC, I’m able to exceed those requirements and I’m in a position to better understand how the unit is supposed to operate and therefore build a more quality product.”
With so many opportunities to advance within Parker, Staples hopes to move forward towards her goal of becoming a unit tester which would allow her even more opportunities to use the skills she’s learned in the Electronics program at OFTC.
“I am a prime example that all the hard work will pay off,” Staples said. “Thanks to my instructors, Mr. Radney and Mr. Porter, I now have an amazing career in the electronics field with many chances to advance.”