Student finds career passion through hands-on training


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Student finds career passion through hands-on trainingFebruary 17, 2021

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Jimmy Espinoza working on a diesel engine in the Midland College Diesel Technology lab.

“I can’t see a puddle of water without wanting a fishing pole,” he said.

While the 31-year-old Midland native finds small amounts of time in his busy life for this hobby, his schedule of working as a technician for All American Chevrolet and taking part-time classes in Midland College’s (MC) Diesel Technology program doesn’t allow much time for catching fish.  

“I learned a long time ago that nothing is easy in this world,” Espinoza said.  “If you want something bad enough, you have to work hard for it and give everything you do 100 percent!  I decided to start the Diesel Technology program because it will open a lot of doors for my career.  I’m learning how to work on more than just gasoline-powered vehicles.  I’m receiving hands-on training in heavy equipment, 18-wheelers, rigs and pumps.  The instructors are awesome because they all have hands-on experience in the diesel industry.”

Espinoza graduated from Midland’s Premier High School in 2008.  Prior to that he attended Midland High School.  He was raised by his mother Maria Padilla, who is a housekeeper.

“I didn’t have a father figure in my life, and from an early age, I was always in trouble,” Epinoza explained.  “I skipped school and got behind in my studies.  In fact, I was kicked out of Midland High.  I enrolled at Premier High School because I could take classes self-paced, and I was determined to graduate from high school on time.”

When he graduated from Premier, Espinoza worked in the oilfield for various energy companies and oilfield service companies.  

“I moved from job to job, always chasing the money,” he said.  “About two years ago, I got tired of the ups and downs in the oilfield, and I went to work for All American Chevrolet.  I’ve always had a passion for working on cars.  I started doing oil changes when I was 16 and just taught myself mechanics from there.”

Espinoza said he had to take a big pay cut when he went from the oilfield to being an auto technician, but that it was worth the job security.

“Being a tech and working on vehicles is really my passion,”  Espinoza added.  “The money was good in the oilfield, but it was long hours.  There were weeks when I’d work 80-90 hours per week, and when the price of oil was down, we never knew if or when we would be laid off.  

“I’d like to continue to work for Chevrolet.  Eventually, I’d like to open my own shop and work on both gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles and equipment.”

Espinoza explained that he currently takes two Diesel Tech courses each semester.  He said that he has learned so much already in the program and feels that each class he takes is another step toward reaching his goal.

“I have had the privilege of having Jimmy Espinoza as a student in the MC Diesel program,” Eric Gutierrez, associate professor of Auto & Diesel Technology, said. “During my short time of knowing Jimmy, it has become apparent that he is an example of a good student who is committed to his academics, as well as a good leader.  I am consistently impressed by his drive, dedication and eagerness to learn.  These traits are also evident to his classmates, as he is highly respected among his peers.”

Jimmy Espinoza is just one of many MC students who are pursuing certificates and degrees in Applied Technology programs, ranging from Welding, Auto Technology, Energy Technology and various hands-on programs in the Information Technology field.  

“Students in these programs have a sense of calling,” Curt Pervier, MC dean of Applied Technology said.  “They truly enjoy working hands-on.  They not only become proficient in a skill that enables them to provide for themselves and their families, but also they build self-confidence and leadership skills by using their unique gifts and talents.”

The Midland West Rotary Club is helping students in MC’s Applied Technology programs through scholarship assistance.  On March 19, the club will host its “Shoot for the Future” clay shoot at Windwalker Farms in Stanton.  Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit scholarships for MC students in Diesel Technology and other Applied Technology programs. 

“The Midland West Rotary Club recognizes that students in the Applied Technology fields are often overlooked. Yet, these students are vital to the success of the Permian Basin, “Tom Jones, clay shoot coordinator, said.

For more information about the Midland West Rotary Club’s Shoot for the Future Clay Shoot fundraiser, visit the special website or contact Jones via email or (432) 553-5456.

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Midland College, 3600 N. Garfield
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