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Providing informational, educational
& job training services for residents of
Western Maryland.

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Zachary Knode

Zachary was a 19-year-old high school dropout, who wanted to secure a career and become financially stable to provide a better life for himself. He knew that his lack of education and occupational skills would be a daunting barrier to overcome, however when Zachary came to the Western Maryland Consortium he was not only inspired, but he brought with him a passion and drive to accomplish his goals. In January of 2021 Zachary began working with staff at the Consortium studying and taking practice exams to continue moving forward toward his first milestone of becoming a high school graduate. His hard work and determination paid off in April of 2021 when he earned his Maryland High School Diploma. “Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it without them (Consortium Staff). When I tried to do things myself, I wasn’t getting things done, and they kept me motivated, and I never fell behind. My foot was on the gas the whole time.” He said.  Zachary knew that this was massive accomplishment, but only a piece to the puzzle. Now, as a high school graduate, he enrolled at Hagerstown Community College with ambitions of becoming a Welder, just as his grandfather was before him. To support Zachary along the way the Consortium was able to provide funding for not only training, but also for a welding jacket and helmet. Just like his journey to obtain his High School Diploma Zachary met this challenge with passion and drive. 6 months later, Zachary was able to add his newly earned AWS Certification to resume. It was now time to enter the workforce, meeting with the Business Service Rep at the Western Maryland Consortium, the two were able to develop a Work Experience at a local scrap metal recycling center, Conservit. This company created a temporary position specifically for Zachary to come in as a welder with no experience, they called the position a “Junior Welder”. In March of 2022, just more than a year after Zachary walked into the Consortium for the first time, he followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and started his first job as a certified welder. It took little to no time for Conservit to decide that the position they awarded Zachary should be a permanent one and that they wanted him to remain as a welder full time. “They are great to work with,” Zachary said. “Working with them, I always felt like I had their help and support all along the way. They just give you the push that you need.”