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256 Stories And Counting.

#56 Peter Sturgeon
(Employed COD graduates)

I have been building and operating drive thru automotive Oil Change Centers in southern California for over 20 years. Changing oil is a fairly generic service - every auto shop does it. What separates the best from the rest is the customer service element. For great customer service you need a knowledgeable staff; people who have shown that they are willing to learn, have hands on experience and have the soft 'people' skills to provide great customer service.

My go-to pool of great staff? COD's Automotive program! Doug Redman's Automotive program teaches more than just automotive skill, it teaches men and women the skills needed to succeed in the work place.

My success in the Automotive business is, in part, due to the skillful graduates from this great program. Thanks Doug and thanks COD.

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Carlos Botello

#55 Carlos Botello
(Pioneering Wind Turbine Technician class graduate. )

I met Larry McLaughlin, Director of the COD Desert Energy Enterprise Center, while visiting a local job fair in 2009. I was looking for a job because I was recently laid off. Larry happened to be putting a wind turbine technician course together for the college. I pursued it and was able to attend the first course.

With this training, I acquired the essential skills to be able to find work with Frontier Pro Services in Banning, CA. This company, along with my former instructor, Jack Wallace, allowed me to utilize my course skills and apply them in the wind farms.

I'm very grateful to COD for offering this certification course. The information provided prepares students for what they can expect working in wind energy.

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Stefanie Sonico

#54 Stefanie Sonico, Class of 1993
(Nursing)

I went back to school to COD when I was 33 years old to get my nursing degree. My life had taken a big turn when my 20 month old son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and I knew I needed a different profession, one that allowed me a more flexible schedule. Besides, with such a young son with diabetes, I wanted the knowledge to better care for him, so I enrolled in COD with hopes of making it into the nursing program.

I still remember that first day of class and how petrified I was, a mother of three starting over, but each class turned into another, then another and then 3-1/2 years later I found myself graduating as an RN. I started at Desert Regional Medical Center as a nursing assistant while still in school and then was hired as an RN in Labor & Delivery.

Today, I am the Nursing Director of Labor & Delivery and one of my greatest joys is giving new nursing graduates a chance and a start - just like I had.

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Steve Sisco

#53 Steve Sisco
(Attended and completed the First Desert Region Renewable Energy Training Program)

My name is Steve Sisco. I attended College of the Desert’s first Desert Region Renewable Energy Training program at the Desert Energy Enterprise Center in Palm Springs. I completed the course and received a certificate in 2011.

I was trained for utility scale solar energy plant construction in anticipation of several proposed solar projects to be developed east of the Coachella Valley. I recently started working on First Solar’s Desert Sunlight Solar Energy project near Desert Center along with many others from my class.

I’d been out of work for a couple of years due to the economy with the construction industry at a standstill. I signed up for the solar training at the Indio Workforce Development Center and looked forward to learning about solar energy.

At College of the Desert’s Renewable Energy Training I learned all aspects of solar energy, and met some nice people. I applied for the Desert Center Project and now work with a great group of hardworking people who are glad to be working again.

My teenage daughter is proud of the work I do. She says she’s proud that I am working on projects that will provide green energy for her future. My gratitude goes to College of the Desert and the folks at the Workforce Development Center for giving me the opportunity and the motivation to complete the course and apply my new knowledge for solar energy projects.

Today, life is good, I’m able to support my family better, give back to my community and encourage others to get involved in green energy.

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#52 Amanda Lopez, Student
(Biology)

Currently I am working on my Associates in Science at COD. I plan on transferring to UCR to work on my Bachelor's in Biology. From there I would like to go to Loma Linda School of Dentistry to become a Dentist.