Juno Beals: Finding Meaning in Community
Juno has had an interest in welding since high school. When he was 16, he had his first opportunity to take part in a welding program but due to the project requirements, decided it was not right for him at that time. He spent the next ten years working at a call center where he quickly rose through the ranks from agent to trainer to coordinator.
In 2016, when the company went through a reshuffle, Juno was laid off. His journey on what he thought would be a lifelong career was cut short. Looking back, he recognizes this setback as the moment he knew he had to decide on what to do with the rest of his life. In 2017, he made the decision to go back and complete his grade 12.
Juno joined the Adult Learning Program at the IT Campus to pursue the two credits he needed to graduate. While on the program, a friend mentioned the Pathways to Shipbuilding welding program. He was skeptical but knew he could not pass up the opportunity. Juno was persistent throughout the application process and is proud to have been one of the final 20 selected.
He commends the team at EPEA and Irving for helping put the team together. “It was more than just being in school, everyone wanted to accomplish the goal of completing the course and become certified as a welder.”
Juno admits that he joined the program with no expectation other than completing the program and finding employment after two years. But got so much more. “We had great teachers that pushed us beyond our comfort zone and helped us break down barriers. They wanted to make sure that even if we got nothing else out of the program, we would have each other to lean on. We became a family.” Juno says. “This program gave me an opportunity to work with people that look like me, think like me and have the same cultural balance. It was an opportunity to truly be me.”
Now that he has graduated. Juno Beals is looking forward to starting his new career as a welder. "The program gave me more friendships, bonds and ultimately it is going to give me the financial stability to one day open a business of my own."