Sandra and Joshua Cardenas
Sandra and Joshua Cardenas (brother and sister) attended McAllen Careers Institute on September 17, 2012 to earn an American Welding Society Certification and enter a profession they found both found challenging and exciting. They were also seeking a career with relatively short term training that would produce long term earnings with the potential to have their vision of success, travel and future business ownership come to fruition. Both excelled in the welding program and assisted other fellow students who were not able to grasp the art of welding as quickly as they had. I want to point out that though Sandra was entering a male-dominated industry she succeeded to gain the respect of her fellow students due to her confidence and welding abilities. Both Joshua and Sandra were shining stars from the time they entered the welding program.
Shortly after graduating from McAllen Careers Institute on October 26, 2012 Sandra & Joshua were offered a welding position with CTS-Hardline,LLC. When I was contacted by the CTS-Hardline project manager he advised me he needed welders for a project located at the U. S. Consulate Office in Matamoros, Mexico. CTS-Hardline,LLC is a Federal Contractor. They are authorized to work in any United States government facility located around the world. The welding position was to be a six month contract; but, the project manager advised me that in the event any of the welders hired were what he called “keepers” he would offer them a permanent position with the company. I made over 40 phone calls offering the welding position to McAllen Careers Institute graduates. The dangerous and much publicized stories of abductions, violence and drug cartel wars in Mexico made it difficult for me to provide CTS-Hardline with the welders they needed. Until……I contacted Sandra and Joshua. They immediately agreed to take the welding position. The position was to begin on January 7, 2013 giving me time to think about the dangerous conditions I was exposing them to by offering them the position in Matamoros. Sandra was 19 years old and Joshua was 20 years old at the time. Therefore, I called them to meet with me to discuss other welding job opportunities available they might be interested in. With much determination and courage they looked me straight in the eye and said “No thank you”. I told them I did not want to be responsible for putting them in harms way. They countered by saying, “We want to go work for CTS-Hardline because we are going to be “keepers”. They wanted the opportunity to prove that they would be good enough to secure a permanent position with a company that would be their gateway to success and travel. Their courage, strength, and faith is staggering for individuals so young.
In mid-June Joshua and Sandra came by my office to let me know that CTS-Hardline had offered them a permanent welding position. They would be traveling in mid-July to Africa to work at the U.S. Embassy after their background check by the F.B.I. was completed. Each F.B.I. background check cost CTS-Hardline $50,000.00. While working and waiting to travel to Africa they both made time to speak to students at the institute. They provided encouragement and are a great example of the value of dedication and hard work. They have been an inspiration and success story shared with students and other individuals who aspire to be successful in their own right. I believe many individuals are fearful. Afraid to make a professional and/or personal change; afraid to go forward and encounter what may come. Sandra and Joshua’s desire to succeed outweighed their fears and their courage allowed them to take a step forward and begin their journey. As Job Placement Administrator at McAllen Careers Institute I try to locate welding job opportunities for McAllen Careers Institute graduates. I can say that Sandra and Joshua’s story is opening doors for students each and every day. Their story inspires others to go forward…to face the unknown…to believe in themselves. I see students willing to take a risk….willing to conquer their fears when they hear of Joshua and Sandra’s drive and determination. How awesome it is to be a part of sharing their story and knowing it is making a difference in the lives of others.
At the time of this email Joshua had been transferred to the U. S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Sandra will be going to Jerusalem in a couple of weeks as she has been chosen to weld a steel wall inside the U. S. Embassy Office. A job given to an individual with top clearance and one they believed was trustworthy. I do not have to be with them to know they feel much pride in their accomplishments. Even with all the dangers and unrest in the Middle East they continue to go forward. Their faith is extraordinary. They are an extraordinary young man and woman. They are a burst of energy in motion.
I believe Sandra and Joshua’s story is an important story to be shared. They are from Weslaco, Texas and aspired to make something of themselves. They set goals for themselves, educated themselves by learning a craft, and are now working towards achieving their life goals. They are the epitome of excellence, determination, faith, and courage. True role models for others to follow.
Job Placement Administrator
McAllen Careers Institute