Recent Florida Career College (FCC) graduate Jacqueline Ramos is excited about the new life she’s building thanks to her education at FCC in Lauderdale Lakes.
Jacqueline graduated from the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program (HVAC Training Program) in June, and within a month she was hired at Lakes Food Equipment Repairs in Hollywood, FL. She’s enjoyed the training so far, going to various commercial food businesses to perform proper maintenance checks.
Jacqueline uses all of her knowledge from FCC on the job – cleaning machinery, replacing filters, and ensuring all machines function properly. She’s excited about the opportunity she’ll have to learn new things on the job, including working with new machinery such as ovens and fryers.
“I especially appreciate the time and effort my boss has put into my training,” she said. Her manager at Lakes Food Equipment Repairs has gone the extra mile in her training. He wants to make sure she’s comfortable and confident in her position since she will be one of few females on the job, which is common for the HVAC field.
After moving to the United States from Puerto Rico in 2017, Jacqueline wanted to establish herself in the U.S. and turned to FCC to help her get started. “I had a lot of experience in Puerto Rico,” she said. “I was an assistant teacher, worked in sales, and most recently was a paramedic. But, I didn’t have experience or certifications in the U.S.”
FCC admissions coordinator Amber Coddington guided Jacqueline through her options and the HVAC program caught Ramos’s attention.
“I told her my dad is a technician,” Jacqueline said. “He has been for 22 years in Puerto Rico.” She felt a connection to the idea of a technical degree with the influence of her father. She also appreciated the efficiency of the HVAC program, which is nine months.
Jacqueline says she appreciated the knowledge of her professors and felt welcome and accepted within the FCC community, which contributed to her success in the HVAC program. They were instrumental in helping her prepare for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test, which is required for all HVAC technicians.
“In Career Services we have been consistently impressed with her soft skills, as well as Jacqueline’s dedication to her education. During our time at FCC, we have watched her grow into an outstanding individual who excels in both academic and personal pursuits. We have been able to witness her extraordinary grit, perseverance and academic accomplishments,” said Ary Cardona, Director of Career Services at FCC Lauderdale Lakes. “On a personal level, Ms. Ramos is a young woman of strong character and a leader who strives for success on a daily basis.”
“Jackie is a role model to all students and staff. Not only did she have outstanding attendance and grades, but her ability to deal with adversity and her level of professionalism really stood out to me,” said Michael Cole, FCC Regional Vice President of Operations for South Florida. “She always had a smile on her face, even when it was hard. As a work study, she always was looking for something to help the staff with; when she finished a task, she looked for more to do. I cannot wait until she gets the requisite experience so we can talk to her about coming back as an instructor!”
Jacqueline says she loves her new job and is working on saving up to get her own apartment. She has three kids who are in Puerto Rico and in Connecticut. Her own place is the first step for her to bring her family together in Florida.
“Right now, with COVID-19 and everything, it is not a time to go backwards. We need to keep moving forward,” she said.