Paulo Da Silva’s career is one that embraces lifelong learning.
A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mr. Da Silva, who grew up in Clinton, Iowa, served as an Americorps volunteer, commercial truck driver, a teacher’s aide and an excavator in construction.
In 2016 he sought a career change and a family-sustaining wage. Da Silva earned a Construction Equipment Operator career pathway certificate from Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) with financial support from Opportunity Dubuque, a collaborative job training effort developed by local employers.
During the two-month Construction Equipment Operator program, Da Silva trained on standard forklifts, mini-excavators and skid loaders.
“It’s a great program,” Da Silva said. “You combine what you learn in class with hands-on training. Northeast Iowa Community College provided me with an excellent foundation.”
Now employed at Newt Marine, Da Silva operates skid loaders and forklifts, applying the skills he obtained in the Construction Equipment Operator program.
“I love my job, it’s awesome. Every day I do something new. I load and unload heavy equipment and prepare it for coworkers. It’s incredible and phenomenal to have so much variety.”