Orlando native Victor Lynch dropped out of high school in the 10th grade, but knew he wanted to pursue a career in carpentry. Like his sister before him, he signed up for the carpentry program at the Frenchburg Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Kentucky.
Victor excelled in the program and graduated in 2012. “Job Corps taught me how to respect others and how to be a strong team player in the workplace,” he said.
When Victor received a call about a union apprentice opening at Buena Vista Construction Co., he said he felt extremely prepared for the interview – both in his carpentry skills and the social skills needed to succeed in the workplace.
Buena Vista is one of the largest construction companies in the region, with thousands of employees who range from iron workers to painters and carpenters. Buena Vista built Walt Disney World in Orlando in the 1970s and continues to be the main project contractor for the park.
He got the apprenticeship position, and was well prepared. “During my first week on the job, I was working with a journeyman (supervisor) who told me she was extremely impressed with my knowledge and how meticulous I was in my work,” he shared.
His job involves various construction projects throughout the amusement park − and occasionally enjoying the employee perk of testing and inspecting the rides for potential repairs. When he is not transporting lumber to project sites throughout the park or assisting with routine checks of the rides, Victor loads vehicles in the construction lumber yard next to the park’s gates.
Victor is now completing his third year of the apprenticeship program, which is offered as part of his affiliation with the local labor union. Because he completed a carpentry pre-apprentice program through Job Corps, he did not have to take the test required to join the union.
Victor ultimately hopes to gain the experience necessary to become a foreman or a superintendent. “Since graduating from Job Corps, I have really felt like a responsible young adult. My job has given stability to my life, and that is a true blessing.”
Job Corps trains more than 60,000 students at 126 centers in all 50 states. Interested in more information? Visit jobcorps.gov or call 800-733-5627.
Mark Huffman is a public affairs specialist for the US Department of Labor.