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."