Skip to main content

ATDM Student Transforms Livelihood After Four Months

Jeremy Taylor

Building The New You: Jeremy Taylor Details How He Transformed His Livelihood at ATDM

The world of defense manufacturing and machining was completely new to Jeremy Taylor when he left his hometown of St. Lawrence County in upstate New York to attend ATDM in early 2024. After over a decade in the service industry, Jeremy decided to take a leap into an entirely new career field. Within four months, Jeremy acquired new credentials and skills that have helped him become a person he never thought he could be. 

How did you first hear about the ATDM program, and what motivated you to join?

It all started with a TV commercial for, which led me to ATDM. I've always been intrigued by submarines and seeing that commercial during the pandemic pushed me to take the chance. When I was in high school, I mostly heard about military and healthcare jobs. I didn’t know opportunities in the defense industrial base existed until I researched and started taking classes here. Even though I was unfamiliar with the Southwest Virginia area, I was interested in the work and decided to apply.

What area of study did you choose?

After assessing the job market, I chose to study CNC machining. It was a strategic move, and I’m glad I made it. CNC opened a whole new world for me. It’s a skill set that’s in high demand.

Manufacturing is a totally new industry in your professional career. Can you share your experience with that?

The first few weeks of the program were really challenging. For well over 10 years, I hadn't really used math. My background is in restaurants, retail, maintenance, and entry-level positions. Learning the defense manufacturing business was a whole new ballgame, with new tools and machines I'd never experienced before. 

What would you say is the standout feature of your program?

The level of support at ATDM is incredible. From tutoring to providing living arrangements and resources, they really invest in us as students. Plus, the pace at which they cover the curriculum is impressive. 

How have your interactions with instructors and faculty been throughout your time at ATDM?

The instructors are fantastic. They don't just hand us the answers; they want us to truly understand the material. They push us to speak the language of the industry, which is invaluable. And they're always there to support us, especially during challenging moments.

What was it like moving away from New York to Virginia? 

It took courage and preparation. But being close to downtown Danville has its perks for helping me feel like I’m part of the community and finding things to do outside of school. ATDM provided transportation to and from my classes, which was a big help. 

With your graduation on the horizon, do you have any plans for your next steps?

I’ll be working at Trident Refit Facility in Bangor, Washington. My position specializes in the repair and maintenance of submarines. It's a thrilling opportunity, and they even offer an apprenticeship program, which aligns perfectly with my goals. In my spare time, I hope to get back into photography and explore out West. I’m looking forward to visiting Mount St. Helens and getting involved in new hobbies. Life’s a journey and I’m seeing where faith is taking me.   

Do you feel prepared to enter the workforce after completing the ATDM program?

While the program has equipped me with a solid foundation, I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I’m eager to learn more. Our instructors emphasize to us that this is just the beginning of our journey, and I'm prepared to continue learning and growing in my field.

What advice would you offer to individuals considering joining ATDM?

Be prepared to work hard. Take advantage of the resources and support offered by the program. And most importantly, be open to learning and embracing new experiences.

How does it feel to be a part of something making a difference for your country?

Being involved in events like the Martinsville NASCAR race #CarWithAMission and seeing fellow students honored is incredibly rewarding. It reminds us of the impact we're making and the opportunities that lie ahead for all of us. ATDM doesn’t just set you up for a job; it builds you into someone you thought you couldn’t be.