Success Story

*****LOREM IPSUM*****

Raquel Pizana

ValleyBuild NOW Graduate

ValleyBuild NOW graduate Raquel Pizana

Raquel Pizana took a big leap of faith when she quit her job to sign up for apprenticeship readiness training in the building and construction trades.

In less than a year, her ValleyBuild gamble paid off. Today, Pizana is a sheet metal pre-apprentice and overjoyed with her change in careers.

“There’s new stuff to learn every day and I love it,” she said.

Before enrolling in MC3 Apprenticeship Readiness Training – and in the first-ever ValleyBuild NOW (Non-traditional Occupations for Women) all-female cohort – Pizana worked in customer service in a call center.

For about 10 years, she fielded calls from mainly unhappy people. Some weren’t very nice, she said diplomatically.

“I wasn’t very happy at my old job,” Pizana said. “It was taking a toll on me mentally.”

Then last year, a friend told her about the ValleyBuild NOW training cohort. They both signed up. It was a major gamble for Pizana because she had to quit her job to make time for the program.

But the class gave her the chance to learn about and explore many trades. Sheet metal, for example, was a completely new trade to her.

One class project required students to make a tool box. Pizana felt at home with the task, and she and another classmate were honored for making the best tool boxes in the group. Instructor Isaac Camarena was knowledgeable and a big help.

The tool box project and general skills training fueled her interest in sheet metal. “Switching careers, I didn’t know much about unions and the trades,” she said. “They exposed me to everything, basically.”

After graduating from ValleyBuild NOW last fall, Pizana worked in a transitional job before being placed into a pre-apprenticeship. The training was essential in finding her way to the sheet metal trade.

“I wouldn’t know where to start without the program,” she said.

Since January, Pizana has been working on projects that include the new science building at Fresno City College and the new high school in Sanger. She is especially excited to work on the high school construction because she’s from Sanger.

Pizana also is the only woman in the warehouse. She said ValleyBuild NOW prepared her for the male-dominated environment and that “all the guys who work there are super nice.”

Her 19-year-old son thinks her new job is great – “he’s excited and proud of me,” Pizana said. She often recommends the ValleyBuild program and has given out flyers to people who might be interested.

“You don’t know if it’s for you unless you try it,” she said. “If you’re not satisfied with where you are going – or where you are not going – you should try it.”

She’s glad she decided to take that leap of faith, adding “a hundred times yes, it was worth it.”

Success Stories

San Joaquin County Apprenticeship Readiness Class Boasts 100% Graduation Rate

Twenty-one men and women are on the path to living-wage careers in the building and construction trades after completing apprenticeship readiness training in Stockton. The San Joaquin Building Trades Council, in partnership with ValleyBuild and other partners, celebrated graduates in ceremonies on Aug. 25. The class of 21 students featured a 100% graduation rate.

Congratulations to The Alvarado Group for the Adult Business of Excellence Award!

The Alvarado Group has been honored with the Adult Business of Excellence Award from the Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board and Workforce Connection.

Stockton Instructor Leans on Decades of Know-How

Eric Cosgrove draws on his experience to train students for work in the trades. With years of construction experience under his tool belt, Eric Cosgrove is someone with plenty of on-the-job knowledge.

Retiring Instructor Leaves Behind a Legacy of Excellence

Many Fresno-area students learning about building and construction trades know the friendly face of Isaac Camarena. For more than two decades, this Madera native was the apprenticeship coordinator for the Fresno Sheet Metal Workers. He spent many years as an instructor for ValleyBuild and the training programs before it.