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“I knew I wanted to risk it”: A conversation with Aviation Maintenance Technology student

Jerome CadelinaWhen twenty-four-year-old Jerome Cadelina attended the Port Jobs Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) orientation at Sea Tac Airport in January 2019 he didn’t know his life was about to get a lot busier. At the time Jerome was working 25 hours a week as a ramp agent for Delta Air Lines. Though he liked the job he had held for two years, he knew he was ready to try something new.


Beam forward to 2021.


Today, Jerome is working 40 hours a week and earning $8.00 more per hour. He is working from 9:00pm-7:00am for Delta Airlines as an Aircraft Support Mechanic, and attending school full-time where he is enrolled in the South Seattle College two-year Aviation Maintenance Technology program, attending school from 7:00am – 1:00pm. As Jerome described it, “All my senses – eyes, heart, brain, ears, everything is about airplanes and working at the airport. I know I am where I want and am meant to be.”


“It all started,” Jerome said, “When a co-worker told me to go to the AMT orientation that Port Jobs was hosting at the airport. That is where I first learned about AMT jobs and had an opportunity to meet some Delta employees doing this kind of work. I also heard about the Alaska Airlines/Airport University Scholarship program that Port Jobs had in place to help airport workers advance in their careers. Soon after the AMT orientation I submitted my own application to Port Jobs for a scholarship, where I expressed my interest in becoming an AMT. That scholarship resulted in my attending the AMT program. It also gave me a leg up when applying for the Aircraft Support Mechanic job and was a big reason I got hired.”


“Timing is everything.” As Jerome saw it, “I was in the right place at the right time. The opportunities and information were provided for me by Airport Jobs, and I grabbed them. And I am so glad that I got to share my enthusiasm for this training with the current Port Jobs Introduction to AMT class – and hope that what I said inspired some of the people in this class to pursue AMT training at South Seattle or another college.”


Jerome said he loved the idea of being an AMT because he got to use critical thinking and decision-making skills and would be using problem solving skills in his everyday work. He also said that he knew that being an AMT did not mean his career would have to stop there, because he could always pursue a Bachelor’s degree and go into airport-related management, inspection or other related areas. He added that along with the AMT certifications and licenses he expected to earn in 2022 he would also be earning an AA degree for his current educational efforts.


Jerome summed up his career journey noting, “I am on a great adventure. I like to risk and push myself. Like when I did my first parachute jump last year. The ride was exciting, but I knew I wanted to risk it, and I knew I would land on my feet.” He added, “A lot of people helped me, and I want to do the same for others. That is why I was so happy to speak recently at the Introduction to AMT class that Port Jobs was offering at the airport for airport employees who want to develop skills necessary to enter the two-year program. I just wanted to tell them it is a great occupation and what they mainly need to succeed is passion and persistence.”


Jerome clearly has both.

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