Joshua Adamcyk ~ Anything is possible if you understand how it works
Joshua Adamcyk did not do well in high school. His family was going through a difficult period that he refers to simply as “family issues.” It affected his schoolwork – badly. His grades were sub-par. So much so, that he was held back – twice.
Even though Josh wasn’t excelling at his schoolwork, the meme that “everyone needs to go to college” was ever-present. What Josh did excel at were his vocational classes, Automotive and Electronics, but these classes were downplayed as hobbies, not career choices. “I had no clue what I would be when I grew up; I just knew I enjoyed working with my hands.” Unfortunately, Josh got no guidance on where to direct that passion. So, after graduating, he did what the meme told him. He went to college.
Josh enrolled at College of DuPage Community College in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. He took classes in Electronics, Computers, and Criminal Justice – all subjects he was interested in – but the classes were not taught in a way that he related to. “This was not my way of learning. I needed something more hands-on.” And so, Josh left college and started doing odd jobs. He worked for a cable TV company, a food packing facility; he even worked as a door to door salesman.
About this time Josh’s mom started to chat frequently with him about a career opportunity she had heard about. She had two friends whose husbands both worked in HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning). They were doing quite well, making good money; supporting their families. Josh took this advice in the way most 20-somethings take advice from their mothers – he ignored it.
There were more odd jobs; the one that stuck the longest was working as a security guard. The turning point was when Josh took a job working security in Texas; a long way from his family and home in Hanover Park, Illinois. It was a big risk, and it didn’t work out. “I failed – terribly.” Josh was making $10 an hour and discovered quickly how hard it was to live on his own.
It wasn’t long before he was back home, living with his mom. She continued to tell Josh to look into HVAC. This time, he listened. He applied to ETI School of Skilled Trades and was accepted. Josh excelled – just like he had in his high school Automotive and Electrical classes. Finally, he was being taught in a way he understood.
Not only was Josh learning, but ETI’s Career Advisor, Mr. Buford was providing him job leads. And thanks to some late night web browsing, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation provided Josh with a Work Ethic Scholarship. “I had just read Mike Rowe’s book and was browsing the web reading more about his work with the skilled trades and his thoughts on the skills gap, when I came across the Foundation and figured it was worth applying to help with my tuition.”
On March 3rd, Josh graduated ETI with A grades and perfect attendance. He credits his Electrical teacher, Mr. Shaw, with his success. Josh quotes Mr. Shaw, saying there is “no such thing as a hard job. Anything is possible if you understand how it works.” Though classes are over, Mr. Shaw offered to mentor Josh when he starts his own business. But that’s the five-year plan. Right now, Josh works as a Counter Technician and Service Assistant at Econotemp, Inc., an HVAC service and parts supplier.
When asked what advice he would give his younger self, Josh instantly quipped “Listen to your mom.”