Maintenance Technician Trade Program Provides Scholarship Winner Aiden McGuire with New Opportunities to Excel
Life can change a lot in a very short time.
Just ask Aiden McGuire. In January 2021, he was living in San Diego, finishing his fourth year as an assistant store manager for a national pizza chain, and giving a lot of thought to his future.
“I knew I wanted more, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted or where to start,” recalls Aiden, now 23. “I had been out of school for five years. I didn’t love high school, so I never really applied myself. The idea of going to a traditional college wasn’t something that appealed to me. To be honest, I felt a little lost.”
Today, just nine months later, Aiden is in a very different place—literally and figuratively. He and his girlfriend moved to Arizona in January to be closer to his family. Soon after he relocated, he decided to enroll in Carrington’s new Maintenance Technician program, one of several new trade programs offered at the Trade Education Center, located on Carrington’s Phoenix campus. In August, Aiden completed his M-Tech certificate of achievement. He decided to continue his education at Carrington and is currently completing his Maintenance Technician associate degree program.
“It feels really great to work hard and have it pay off,” says Aiden. “I’ve doubted myself in a lot of ways, but the one thing I never doubted is my work ethic. I’ve worked since I was 16 years old. I’m not afraid to work hard and to do whatever it takes to get the job done. At Domino’s, the employees always told me I was their favorite manager because I got right in there and worked alongside them. I never sat back and made them do the work just because I had a manager title. I’m looking forward to applying that same work ethic in a profession where I feel like I can build a future.”
We talked with Aiden about how it felt to return to school, what he learned about himself during the process, and what he’s looking forward to as he launches his new career.
You graduated high school in 2016. What motivated you to return to school?
I decided I wanted to invest in myself. For as long as I can remember, I never gave my future much thought. I just figured I would take life as it came, but I found myself unsatisfied with what my life was becoming. I knew that later down the road, I probably wouldn’t have the same opportunities that I have now. So with a little push from my family, I decided to go back to school. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I went on the internet and searched for trade programs. That’s where I learned about Carrington’s new Maintenance Technician program.
How did you feel being back in a classroom after five years?
It was so much better than I expected. I was nervous at first, but I felt like my instructors really took an interest in me and my success. One of my instructors, Brian Como, is the best teacher I’ve ever had. He did an incredible job making sure that all of his students, including me, were prepared when we finished the program. Without him, I’m not sure I would have continued on to pursue my associate’s degree. I’m grateful to Mr. Como and to everyone at Carrington. They’ve helped me believe in myself and get to a point where I know I can be successful in my life.
Have you always been mechanically inclined?
I’ve always been interested in how things work. As a kid, I used to love taking the chain off my bike and putting it back on. I later learned to swap out components in my car engine, and I actually thought about becoming an auto mechanic at one point. I just didn’t know how to focus that interest and turn it into a job until now.
You were awarded a full scholarship six months into your program. How did that happen?
A Carrington Career Services Advisor told me about a scholarship opportunity. She encouraged me to apply, so I did. I wrote an essay talking about my life, my work ethic, and my desire to improve my life by learning a trade. About two weeks later, I received a call telling me I’d won the scholarship! I really couldn’t believe it. For a guy who had questioned whether returning to school was the right move, it turned about to be a huge confidence booster.
What was your overall impression of the Maintenance Technician program?
It was awesome! It included four different courses and covered a variety of subjects. We learned about hydraulic power in one course and then studied electricity theory and wiring in another. We also studied Programmable Logic Controllers, which monitor inputs and outputs and makes logic-based decisions for automated processes or machines. They also teach you how to develop troubleshooting skills and how to work effectively with other people, which are valuable skills in any field.
What kind of jobs will you apply for?
With the training and experience I’ve gained, I’ll be able to apply for such positions as Plant Maintenance Technician, Maintenance Mechanic, Machine Repairer, Facilities Maintenance Technician, or Building Maintenance Mechanic. One of my teachers was a Field Service Technician and traveled all over North America fixing large machinery and systems. Another worked in mines.
There are a lot of great opportunities in the field because factories, manufacturers, and companies all have equipment that they rely on to operate smoothly. For that to happen, the equipment requires routine maintenance.
What would you tell someone who might be considering enrolling in the program?
If it’s a career field that sounds interesting to you, it’s definitely something to check out, especially if you’re mechanically inclined. It’s a cool field, the pay is great, and I learned a lot in a relatively short amount of time.
What do you think you’ve learned about yourself during the process of your completing your certificate of achievement and working toward your associate’s degree?
I’ve never felt this kind of motivation before, and I’m liking that a lot. I’ve learned that when something interests me, I can do more than keep up—I can excel!
Learn More About A Career As A Maintenance Technician
If you enjoy working with your hands, building things, and getting dirty, a career in the trades may be right for you.