Jasmine Quinones gave herself a life-changing career for her 37th birthday.
“I had a cleaning business before COVID. After the pandemic hit, I found myself out of work because many of my clients didn’t want me coming to their homes,” Jasmine said. “I decided I had to find something that would never leave me in that place again.”
Fast forward six months and Jasmine has a new career and for the first time, she and her three children are financially stable.
“Before I was working three jobs and barely making ends meet. We didn’t have extra money even for something from the Dollar Store,” Jasmine said.
Jasmine found support through the college’s Job Skills Training Program, where she learned soft skills, time management and was connected with TCC’s Skilled Trades Academy and short-term programs.
She started taking the Carpentry course in May 2022 and will complete the program this October.
Amazingly, Jasmine was recruited by Precon Marine, Inc, for a paid position during her second month in class. A representative came to the Skilled Trades Academy to speak to students about available positions.
“It was the biggest blessing of my life to start at Precon. I’m still in training there, but I’ll soon be using my carpentry skills in shipyards,” she said.
It’s long days for Jasmine with work, school and family responsibilities. She’s on the job by 7 a.m. And two days a week she heads to class after an 8-hour workday. On those days, she returns home both tired and energized by what she is learning. “It’s a struggle on those days, but 100 percent worth it,” she said.
Additionally, Jasmine earned her OSHA 10 safety certification through the Carpentry program. She has also learned how to read blueprints, install wall systems, floor systems, and use all the tools of the trade. At the end of the course, she will be a certified, entry-level carpenter.
“It’s been an amazing transformation and so fast. After six weeks on the job, I was able to pay all my bills and still have money left,” Jasmine said.
“It is night and day. We don’t have to have those conversations about money like we used to,” she added. “My kids have been humbled by the lack of things I was able to give them and I’m grateful to no longer be in that lifestyle.”
Jasmine’s skills and success have made her a standout in class, according to Michael Vander Werf, the Skilled Trades Program Manager for TCC. “Jasmine has demonstrated leadership abilities and is thriving in class and at her place of employment,” he said.
Jasmine hopes to inspire other women to give the skilled trades a try. “There are some amazing opportunities for young women who enjoy working with their hands and building things. I’m making it my mission to encourage women to get out there and just do it,” she said.
Jasmine is considering taking a heavy equipment operator class next. She’d like to operate a crane and work in the air conditioning!
Long term, Jasmine hopes to someday own her own business making custom furniture and housewares.
“Right now, I just want to get some extra sleep and enjoy time with my sons,” Jasmine said with a laugh. “But it’s wonderful to see the opportunities ahead.”