CLC students overcome adversity
Todd Aydelotte and Jordan Kulzer have overcome a lot for their young ages. The men recently graduated from the Central Lakes College occupational skills program, which prepares students with disabilities to work independently and live successfull...
Todd Aydelotte and Jordan Kulzer have overcome a lot for their young ages.
The men recently graduated from the Central Lakes College occupational skills program, which prepares students with disabilities to work independently and live successfully in the community.
Their journey wasn't always easy, but both came out of it inspiring others.
"Both Jordan and Todd have set the bar high with their extraordinary drive to succeed," OSP instructors Tim Leskey and Patty Sloan said. "In the classroom and the workplace both students exceeded program expectations."
For Kulzer, 19, his challenges started on day one when he was born weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces. After three days of life, he had his first surgery, and since has had 23 different surgeries.
Kulzer was a senior in high school when he decided he wanted to attend CLC and join OSP.
"The first two weeks were a little hard but then I found the group of friends that I now hang out with. It's been a very good experience for me," he said. "Both of the teachers are really nice."
Kulzer worked for Baxter Parks and Trails, a job he really liked, he said.
"I put my heart into my work," Kulzer said. "When I see kids playing on a ball field, it really makes me happy to know that I helped to make it nice for them to enjoy. I really have a lot of passion for my job."
Kulzer has been an exceptional employee for the city, said Alex Hondl, Baxter Parks and Trails maintenance supervisor.
"His background, knowledge, and skills differentiate him from others," Hondl said. "We will miss his positive attitude and know that any municipality would be lucky to have him as an employee."
Kulzer recently started a new job as a city park maintenance worker for the city of Paynesville.
Aydelotte, 21, said his work ethic wasn't very good before coming to CLC. But since starting OSP, he had internships at College Square and the CLC Community Theatre, in addition to two jobs: one at Angus Greentop Farm as a ranch hand and Billy's at Breezy Point as a dishwasher.
"The occupational skills program is probably one of the best programs I've ever been in," Aydelotte said. "I have learned stronger skills in getting to work and staying on task at work. I've learned better communication skills and that has helped me to have a better understanding of what needs to be done."
Next fall Aydelotte will start in the CLC auto mechanics program. He might even join the college's diesel mechanics program after that.
"I'm glad I did the step of OSP before jumping into the Auto Mechanics Program," Aydelotte said. "It's been a good stepping stone and I feel better prepared to move on in my college career."
Leskey and Sloan said both young men have a strong desire to do a great job and are extremely positive.
"Each always has had a smile to share throughout the school year," they said. "We couldn't be more proud of these two young men and we are sure that their futures will be filled with opportunity."