The manufacturing industry is full of bright minds and possibilities. Jonathan Cabrera, an Aerospace Mechanical Technician and former Nighthawks student, is a shining example of this.

Those who join the AMTEP program come from all walks of life. Some are students fresh out of high school while others went to college. Cabrerra is one of the latter, as he received a degree in Arts & Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology and Business from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY.

But while Cabrera’s degree gave him an abundance of theoretical knowledge, he knew to truly excel in his field, he needed a new perspective and more experience. “I knew a lot about it theoretically,” he explains, “but with the Nighthawks I was able to understand the materials in a hands-on way.”

Among the things he learned through Nighthawks and the AMTEP program were how to set up machines, GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing), safety, and more. These are the sorts of things he had known about as concepts, but actually getting hands-on experience with them truly increased his understanding and appreciation for them.

“I like the concept of being a leader and passing my knowledge on to others. But as a student I kept it humble,” Cabrerra says. “I had a college degree, but I felt like I understood the material better after getting this hands-on experience.”

Jonathan Cabrera AMTEP Nighthawks graduate
Jonathan Cabrera performing the hand sign of his fraternity, Latino America Unida, Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity, Incorporated

Of course, much of his great learning experience with the Nighthawks came from his instructors. Many AMTEP instructors have years of experience in the field they’re teaching, meaning they’re the most qualified people to pass along knowledge to the next generation of manufacturers. “The instructors were very professional and very passionate about their career. Any question we asked them, they understood and could explain it to us.” 

Even after he finished the program, Cabrerra remained in contact with his former classmates. “I get to network with a lot of my fellow classmates. Most of them are very successful right now,” he says. He’s also very grateful for his instructors and even got to know them better after the program ended and they and MassHire got him his job.

Cabrerra put his new skills to work as a machinist for a few years during the pandemic. Now, he works with hypersonics, which is a relatively new technology. “I make things into reality,” he proudly states.

While he might have come into the AMTEP program with a degree, he left with even greater respect for the manufacturing industry. “I learned more about myself. It’s now become my passion.”

For anyone who might be considering a career in the manufacturing industry, Cabrera is enthusiastic and has nothing but great things to say. In his experience, the manufacturing industry is thriving and perfect for people who are looking for a long-term career. “There’s always opportunities,” he says. “You need to have passion, but you can work your way up from whatever position you have.”