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Navy veteran looking to rebuild after coronavirus-related layoff, finds positive outlook at trade school

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A U.S. Navy veteran has found success at a local trade school after being unexpectedly laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You could hear the pain in James Demicco’s voice when the Navy veteran told News 8 about getting laid off from his job as a paralegal thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic — a job he held for ten years.

“I was first in shock then worried,” said Demicco. “We had a mortgage and bills to pay. It was a scary thought.”

Demicco decided to regroup. He did what many people across the country are now doing in the face of layoffs from the COVID crisis. Demicco decided to enroll in trade school and acquire the skills to begin a new career path in an industry many governors have deemed essential.

He wants to become an electrician.

“I was always told the trades are always going to be needed and there’s not enough people in them,” he said.

He enrolled at the Porter and Chester Institute‘s facility in Waterbury. They have many branches across the state and the region. His instructor, Eric Stark, the Electrical Education Supervisor at the Waterbury campus, says he’s seeing more and more people like Demicco come through.

“In James’ case he’s more my age so I can feel for his position,” Stark said. “When you’re younger it’s a little bit different because you’ve got a lot of choices you can make and you can kind of shift gears.”

Enrollment has gone up about 37% from PCI’s Spring program to its Summer program.

Stark says he’s proud knowing he’s helping others get the tools they need to head towards a path in life that is more successful for them.

“I do get a little sensitive when these guys come back with success stories because that’s really why I’m doing this,” Stark said.

And Demicco says going back to school has given him a new, positive outlook.

“I feel like I have a good opportunity when I’m done with school to find a job,” he said.

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