Oscar SaundersName: Oscar Saunders

Age: 28

Hometown: Portsmouth

At Tidewater Community College: Oscar is enrolled in the four-year apprentice program, which provides the academic training required for a trade, a Technician Career Studies Certificate upon completion, and a competitive wage throughout. During the last three years of the program, students learn on the job at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Oscar plans to be an inside machinist.

Why TCC: “TCC provides the opportunity to provide a long-term career for myself versus a job that’s dead-end with no full-time benefits. I felt like I was approaching an age where I needed to start setting the future not just for myself but for my family. This program prepares me to do so. I love the whole concept of it. They’re taking people who don’t have any experience and giving them an opportunity to create their own future. It’s also nice to be paid while you’re going to school, and we get raises every six months.”

Using TCC’s resources: “TCC has a lot of great resources. If you need help, the tutoring center is right downstairs. They have forums, on-campus functions and student activities to get involved in. They give you a full college experience.”

Advice for other students: “Use your time wisely, because you’re provided all the time you need to get things done. They don’t set it up for you to fail. You hold the key to your own fate.”