Machining a New Future Through Apprenticeship: A Single Mom’s Inspiring Career Reinvention

Vanessa Soto
Innovative Apprenticeship Outreach and Education Analyst

The California Tooling & Machining Apprenticeship Association (CTMAA) is an association of manufacturing industry leaders dedicated to addressing the national gap in machining talent. The CTMAA partners with sponsor employers and CTMAA-certified colleges that offer machine technology certificate programs. CTMAA Apprenticeships are Registered in California and federally, giving Californians a competitive edge in this in-demand industry. With the support of the Apprenticeship Innovation Funding (AIF), which supports apprenticeship programs to sustain and scale their programs, the CTMAA has active apprentices throughout 21 California counties.

In the bustling world of modern manufacturing, one apprentice machinist is breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes with skill and precision. Mandy is a CTMAA machinist apprentice sponsored by her employer Morgan Manufacturing.  As Mandy details her day-to-day life as an apprentice, an underlying narrative of resilience goes beyond her professional achievements. After losing her fiancé unexpectedly, Mandy became a single mother and the sole provider for her family. With a degree in marketing, the unexpected loss of her fiancé prompted a career reassessment. Faced with the need for a more stable and lucrative career to support her children, Mandy delved into the world of machining. Machining is a field that feels natural to her, given her hands-on experience in building and fixing things.

In an interview with Mandy, she shared:

"My dad and I rebuilt a 1955 Ford pickup as my first car. I started remembering that I've always liked taking things apart and building stuff. It almost seemed more natural. I was thinking about the viability and the job market and what I was going to do and how I could continue to grow and learn. I didn't see school as something I could do and continue to work full-time to raise my family. As an apprentice, I now work full-time. I now go to school full-time and I'm a full-time parent. So, it's like 3 full-time jobs right there. Because I'm in this apprenticeship, I'm able to be sponsored to go to school and my boss has graciously worked around my hours."

Forging a new successful career for herself and her family, Mandy also underscores the importance of mentorship and community. She notes she mentors young women entering the field, fostering a more inclusive and diverse future for the machining industry. Her story serves as a powerful reminder that skills and passions can pave the way for successful and fulfilling career paths. To learn more about apprenticeship programs in machining and other fields visit


November 2023