In his senior year at Tyngsboro High School, Jonathan wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for a career or what college he should attend. He enjoyed physics class and building things, especially working with electrical components. “Why don’t you check out Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology?” his grandfather asked, having graduated from the college’s Civil Engineering program in 1960.
Jonathan had never heard of the college, but upon visiting and speaking with faculty, he realized it was the right place for him. “Teachers said hello to everyone and all the students knew each other,” Jonathan said. “If you go to a big school, it’s not going to be as friendly. At BFIT, everyone is working together.”
"Teachers said hello to everyone and all the students knew each other. At BFIT, everyone is working together."
In his Photovoltaic class, he learned about the science and design behind solar panels. The course incorporated lessons that required students to calculate the potential energy produced by the solar panel based on their position and how to perform the installation process. In the National Electrical Code course, instructors with decades of experience in their field shared their expertise.
Outside of the classroom, Jonathan was actively involved with campus life. As secretary of the student government, he helped organize Spring Fest, an annual event in May. His second year, he became Vice President of the Franklin Honor Society.
After graduation, Jonathan worked as an Apprentice Electrician, the first step on the path to becoming a Master Electrician. He enjoyed working in the field and planned to work his way up on job sites before transitioning into an office role. Fortunately, because of the education and the skills he acquired at BFIT, he jumped at the opportunity earlier than expected and became a Junior Electrical Estimator at MEC Electrical Contractors. In this role, he studies construction plans to calculate estimates for potential electrical projects. He also communicates with general contractors to evaluate the logistics and progress.
"I couldn't do this job without BFIT. During our weekly lab practical, we priced components and labor, and also studied drafting plans. Now, I do that on a daily basis."
“I couldn’t do this job without BFIT. During our weekly lab practical, we priced components and labor, and also studied drafting plans. Now, I do that on a daily basis,” Jonathan said. “At the time, I always thought ‘I’m going to work in the field and I’m never going to have to do this’. Well, I’m glad I paid attention.” Jonathan is training to take on more responsibility as an electrical estimator, eventually hoping to become a Senior Electrical Estimator that manages an entire team.“BFIT is a great college.” Jonathan said. “With the knowledge you get, you can work so many types of jobs. It’s a program not just for electricians but for the entire electrical sector.”
BFIT offers STEM degrees that are focused on preparing students to graduate into a technician position immediately after graduation. The comprehensive associate degree is more than just technical training or a certification. The approach consists of general education and high-level coursework that gives graduates the flexibility to work in all areas across a sector and take advantage of opportunities for advancement.
In March, Jonathan represented his company at BFIT's annual career fair. Now, as an industry partner, he gets to see the process from the other side of the table. "With BFIT students, we know they have strong background knowledge and technical skills. We know they are qualified," Jonathan said. "What makes the difference is when students are enthusiastic and show interest in the company and the opportunities available."
As for advice to upcoming graduates, Jonathan emphasized the importance of finding a job that aligns with your goals and offers long-term opportunities. "Don’t always take the first offer. Don’t always take the highest offer," Jonathan said. "Make sure the position is a good fit and that you enjoy the people you're going to work with."