Disabled Veteran Returns to MCC to Enhance Engineering Career

Tom Curzi, MCC student and veteran

Tom Curzi, MCC student and veteran applying his skills in Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) Machining class.

Design engineer Tom Curzi, learned at a young age that to succeed in life, one has to make an effort to pave his or her own path and not wait for jobs to magically appear. As the son of a single mother, Curzi and his siblings moved often during childhood as their mother found jobs in different cities. Despite dropping out of high school in his junior year, he enrolled in McHenry County College (MCC) to earn his GED and later complete a degree.

After earning his GED, followed by a few semesters of college classes at MCC, Curzi joined the U.S. Army in 1991. While serving in Desert Storm and Somalia, he sustained a back injury and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), resulting in an honorable medical discharge. He returned to MCC in the late 1990s and earned his first associate’s degree in general education, with an emphasis in AutoCAD. He landed a job as a journeyman machinist and later advanced to design engineering—a role he has maintained for the past 20 years—gaining experience  in several areas, including mechanical, electrical, industrial, structural, process and manufacturing.

In Spring 2014, using his GI Bill for education, Curzi decided to pursue a degree that relates directly to his work.  So he joined MCC’s Fast Track program, taking Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining classes one night a week.

“My CNC instructors provide real-world training that goes beyond the classroom and gives students like me the edge over the competition in getting hired. My goal is to move up in my career at my current employer,” he said.

Curzi will graduate from MCC in December with an Associate in Applied Science degree in manufacturing management.

“MCC impacted my life on three separate occasions in the last 25 years,” Curzi said. “MCC has been there for me each time I wanted to elevate myself and my education. I would not be where I’m at today if I didn’t get my education at MCC.”

 

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