Laid-Off Mill Worker Talks About the Challenge of Going Back to School - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Laid-Off Mill Worker Talks About the Challenge of Going Back to School

YAKIMA, Wa -  Two months ago, Jason Pittner was a forklift operator at Yakima Resources. Today, he's in a classroom with his nose in a text book.

"It's not natural -- laughs -- it feels weird," Jason says when asked about being back in school. 

He's now 35 years old, in school for the first time in 17-years.  But he's not alone.  Sitting next to him are Terry Howard and Reyes Martinez who also used to work at Yakima Resources.  They have all enrolled in the 12-month auto-tech program.

"It's certainly great to have them here," Jason says, "To have someone to talk to.  I don't feel like I have to go through this all by myself."

Jason had been working at the mill for two years, but expected to be there a long time.  Now he hopes that what he learns in the auto tech program will allow him to find a job that can offer the similar pay and benefits to the mill.

"I definitely wanted to take the opportunity to have the retraining," Jason says, "I didn't think it was a good idea to pass it up."

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