SJR State Student Spotlight - Tyler Wilkinson
Tyler is a recent high school graduate. During his senior year, he enrolled in and completed the Manufacturing Prep Accelerated Program (MPAP) at St. Johns River State College. The program
prepares students for the Certified Production Technician 4.0 (CPT) designation. Those who pass the CPT certification exams earn 15 credits (one semester) toward the Associate of Science degree in Engineering Technology degree.
TYLER, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO ENROLL IN SJR STATE’S MANUFACTURING PREP ACCELERATED PROGRAM (MPAP) PROGRAM?
My mechanically inclined background. Growing up, my dad owned his own successful automotive business for over 25 years, and that has been a huge influence on my life. From sweeping the floors to diagnostics and drivability. I’ve learned so much from my dad. Not everyone has the same opportunity that I did growing up; however, what opportunity I was given, I ran with it. That brings me to my high school career.
For as long as I could remember, I wasn’t planning on attending college. I wanted to work in a trade instead. I completed the automotive program at Palatka High School, passing all 10 ASE Certification exams, as well as the FADA dealership exam, too. I transferred to Crescent City Jr/Sr High School because I had moved at the beginning of my senior year, and there, I was able to complete the welding program and become AWS certified.
While I was there, I was presented with another opportunity. I was selected for the MPAP program based upon my previous achievements and interests. I then realized that trades can have college-level classes too, only this time it sounded like a great fit for me and so I took it.
WHAT DID THE PROGRAM PREPARE YOU FOR?
"This program taught me a lot about the importance of safety, as well as quality, and that everything else is constructed around these two key principles."
This program also taught the “how-it-works” on certain assemblies and machines. My dad always told me, “If you know how it’s supposed to work and the theory behind it, you’ll always understand how to fix it.” And that has been true for everything I’ve ever worked on.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT THIS PROGRAM?
Personally, I enjoy the machinery and the precision of the instruments and equipment. I'd rather hold a wrench than a pen, because I like that mental to physical problem solving.
WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF DURING THE PROGRAM?
If I want something, I have to be the one to go get it.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW JOB.
My new job at a local vacuum technology plant has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. It’s a great match for me and a stepping stone in my life. I work in sub-assembly, there I build the subframes that have been welded together by another department. It’s long hours, overtime, and hard work, but there are also plenty of benefits and great pay too.
HOW IMPORTANT WAS THE RAPID CREDENTIALING SCHOLARSHIP TO YOUR CAREER PATH?
It was my way of getting the feel for the manufacturing industry. That way I can get my foot in the door and try something new that turns out to be something I really enjoy. Financially it was very important because college was the furthest from my mind. I thought that there was nothing there for me, on top of being super expensive already.
DO YOU PLAN ON CONTINUING WITH SJR STATE IN THE ENGINEERING DEGREE PROGRAM?
I plan to go back hopefully this year to complete the program for my education, for my family, for my career, for my future, and also, for me. I want to continue my education, and if I have the knowledge I need to move forward, then that advancement is mine for the taking. I plan on continuing my education past the engineering degree program in hopes the knowledge I accumulate over the years allows me to continue working for a great company as well as grow within a company that has so much potential and is also a fantastic environment.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I see myself making great money, as a homeowner, and a family man doing something I love with the education I received seizing the opportunity I have made for myself.
INTERESTED IN MANUFACTURING/ENGINEERING?
The Manufacturing Prep Accelerated Program (MPAP) prepares students for the Certified Production Technician 4.0 (CPT) designation.
Industrial technology continues to advance and so can YOU!
In as little as one year, you could gain the skills to join a new generation of technicians. SJR State's hands-on, advanced MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY program will prepare you for above-average wages in jobs where you are immersed in industrial electronics, mechanics, and robotics applications. Possible careers include process and production technicians, industrial machinery mechanics, programmable logic control technicians and operators, and industrial engineering technicians.
For more information, please email or call (904) 276-6893.
Director of Public Relations and Publications