Voices for Skills: Matt from Tennessee

July 05, 2019

After his High School graduation, Matt did what his parents wanted him to do – he went to college. He knew this wasn’t the path he wanted to take, so he applied for a job at Nissan. He was working there for a few years when he noticed an opportunity to learn new skills while still being able to make a living wage to care for his family.

The maintenance apprenticeship program Matt applied for could jumpstart his career, but it was just the beginning of a long process. “450 people applied for just 21 positions,” Matt said. “I was fortunate enough to get one.”

The first six months meant a full-time class schedule to prepare Matt and the other apprentices for the next three and a half years of work-based learning. They joined journeymen technicians on the night shift and went right into the classroom after work. “It was pretty tough, especially with having two small children at the time,” Matt said. “But instead of getting thrown onto the floor, we were able to build relationships and learn on the job. It was really beneficial.”

Matt has continued to pursue certifications while advancing in his now 25-year career at Nissan, where’s he currently serves as the Learning Pathways Manager for Automotive/Manufacturing. He credits the support and insight his bosses have given him for his success. “My boss would say that some people believe you shouldn’t pay to train or certify workers because they might leave,” Matt recalls, “but the better question is: ‘What if you don’t train them?’”