Manufacturing Skills Training: Virginia Martinez and Laiken Carrillo
A precision machining career starts with skills. Virginia and Laiken share their journey and how they help prepare the next generation.
by Carli Kistler-Miller
Director of Programs & Marketing, PMPA
Published January 1, 2023
Virginia Martinez serves as the president of operations for Technical Employment Training (TET) in San Bernardino, California. Laiken Carrillo serves as the administrative coordinator for TET. TET is a school which provides entry-level manufacturing skills, including blueprint reading and layout, safety, math, CAD-CAM training, conventional machining and
CNC operations. TET provides stackable credentials and has an 87% job placement rate.
Virginia Martinez is a product of a local machining program and entered the workforce 23 years ago as an intern at a local machine shop. She experienced different department operations and says she “garnered a deep sense of what the manufacturing industries needed for effective productivity as well as internal skill sets that are needed for continued
growth.” She was also involved with SkillsUSA — from being a student to serving as local and state officers, trainer and an alumni board member. Her experience, coupled with her SkillsUSA involvement, led to the president of operations position with TET in 2010. Laiken Carrillo has 13 years of experience with customer service. Four years ago, she started with TET as an administrative assistant, quickly moved to a job developer position and now serves as the administrative coordinator. Laiken states, “My success in fostering relationships with employers as well as the students helped me realize that this is where I needed to be. Over the years, I have learned to grow and develop a deep passion for career and technical education.”
Advice for Shops Looking for Skilled Talent
Virginia and Laiken advise shops to get involved and engage with local programs. Virginia states, “Be a part of their advisory, let them know the industry trends, technology and skills sets that are needed. This engagement will help the local programs align their curriculum to meet the needs of employers.” She adds that being involved in mock interview feedback, career day, facility tours and speeches make a big impact on students and the success of the program.
Advice to Women (or Anyone) Seeking a Career in Manufacturing
Virginia encourages those seeking a career in manufacturing to “Go for it!” She adds, “Manufacturing has reinvented itself with the use of technology and is on the cutting edge of the latest technology. This technology has departed into many industries, whether your passion is medical, aerospace, military or automotive, with manufacturing the industries go on and each area needs skilled, talented women. Not only do we recommend this career to women but we encourage it. We can self-attest to the career opportunities that it has opened for us both individually just by being actively involved
in the manufacturing industry.”