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Meet Adriana Gonzalez

As the single mother of a young daughter, Adriana Gonzalez realized that her job at a warehouse didn’t pay enough to support her. After her internship at a 3-D printing company that she got through MiraCosta College, Gonzalez now has a good-paying job and a promising future.

“It really changed my life,” Gonzalez said. “Now I can get a good job with what I learned in school. I never imagined myself being where I am right now.”

Gonzalez gave birth to her daughter when she was 17 years old and still in high school. After graduating high school in 2013, she briefly attended MIraCosta College but had to drop out to get a full-time job.

Over 11 years, she worked at two warehouses and was promoted to supervisor. Even with the promotion, she only earned $18.50 an hour.

“I was struggling,” Gonzalez said. “There was no future. I never had good pay. I was barely making enough money to pay for my rent, my car and my insurance. I was always asking for an extension because I didn’t have enough money.”

Gonzalez, by then the mother of two children, decided she needed to resume her education. She knew she needed to do something fast and affordable, so she enrolled in the engineering technology program at MiraCosta’s Technology Career Institute.

Gonzalez had saved her money for two years so she could afford to quit her job and attend school full-time. MiraCosta College paid for her three-month internship at the company now known as SpiTrex Orthopedics in Carlsbad. Gonzalez said the money she was paid in the internship was 20% higher than her warehouse job.

Gonzalez said the faculty and staff at the Technology Career Institute were always supportive of her.

“When I went to my job and I had questions, I just emailed my instructor and she gave me advice,” she said. “They always told me that if I need to review something, I can go back to school to refresh my mind.”

As a technician at the company, Gonzalez learned how to clean the implant parts created using 3-D printers and used in surgeries. When her internship ended last year, the company hired her full-time.

Gonzalez said she gets satisfaction knowing that the implants her company created will help people who were in pain.

“All the implants that I touch go to somebody. I’m helping people have a better quality of life,” she said.

She said an internship is an excellent way to learn more about a job and recommended internships for anyone considering them.

“They can see if a specific job is a fit for them, schedule-wise and work-wise,” Gonzales said. “Employers can see how you work and see if it’s a fit for you.”

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