Siblings Joshua and Jessica Sylvester
Ambition is All in the Family
Brother and sister Joshua and Jessica Sylvester were working in Amazon warehouse jobs when they decided that they wanted jobs that were more satisfying — and more secure. So they each signed up to study mechatronics in Valencia College’s Accelerated Skills Training program, where, after 18 weeks, they’ll graduate with national certifications in maintenance operations, mechanical components, industrial electricity and fluid power.
Many of Valencia’s mechatronics graduates work as industrial maintenance technicians in fields ranging from huge warehouse operations to satellite manufacturing plants, and earn between $18 and $20 an hour.
“Joshua was the one who told me about the mechatronics program,” says Jessica, 22. “And I said, "What is that?" I looked it up on Valencia’s website and the other options, like welding and electronic board assembly, they sounded cool, but to me, mechatronics sounded really cool because it was different disciplines under one category. It’s hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanical…everything that will satisfy my curiosity and it’s all in one package.”
Joshua, 19, first learned about the mechatronics program as a senior in high school. When his guidance counselor pointed out Valencia’s Accelerated Skills Training programs, he was intrigued. “I wanted to find something to study so I could get a job right away and earn enough so that I could come back later and get a degree,” he says.
Joshua, who wants to eventually earn a degree in mechanical engineering, enjoys the hands-on aspect of the classes. “I really love going to class because Brendon (Monize), our teacher, will always challenge you,” Joshua says. “Instead of giving you a perfect shaft that has no defects, he will give you a bent shaft full of nicks and dings and dents, because you might run into something like that in the real world and you need to know how you will deal with it.”
“I’m a very curious person. I want to dig in and find out how things work,” says Jessica. “I know this change in direction is a little left field, but in a good way.”
At Valencia College, we work every day to create a level playing field for college students of all backgrounds, fashioning a college where every student can succeed. And our students continue to amaze and surprise us. Read more of their stories.
Meet Other Metallica Scholars
Meet Jason, a welding instructor in our Accelerated Skills Training program, and learn how his unconventional path led him to success.