Published by the State Department of CareerTech | March 1, 2021
Justin Cockroft, FAA and MMAC
MNTC Carpentry Program & Gordon Cooper Technology Center, CAD Program
His career took flight after one love introduced him to another.
THEN: A high school graduate who thought he might want to own a home remodeling business. Justin Cockroft initially launched his CareerTech experience by enrolling in Moore Norman Technology Center’s carpentry program. There, he learned valuable carpentry skills from framing to roofing to trim carpentry. Although he didn’t start a business, Cockroft uses those skills for his own home remodeling projects.
His experience at Moore Norman sparked an interest in computer-aided drafting, which led to his second CareerTech experience. Cockroft enrolled in the CAD program at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee.
It was at Gordon Cooper Tech that Cockroft discovered SkillsUSA, the CareerTech student organization for students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations. He was active in SkillsUSA leadership activities and competitions, winning second place in the national SkillsUSA Chapter Display team event. Cockroft said
- His CAD skills helped him land an entry-level position in an electrical engineering firm, where he later became a senior electrical designer and firm manager, working with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars.
- Those skills also helped him obtain a job at the Federal Aviation Administration, doing similar work.
- He learned valuable project management and collaboration skills which he uses professionally today, both at the FAA and in the Air Force.
“CareerTech provided a strong foundation for me,” he said. “I firmly believe that much of the success and opportunities I have experienced in my career can be directly attributed to the training and education I received from the CareerTech system.”
CareerTech provided me the opportunity to work with students, instructors and leadership, and I know I grew stronger and better because of these interactions.
NOW: A management and program analyst at the FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City. Cockroft administers a training program for more than a thousand federal employees and as many contractors, and facilitates the development of strategic messaging; planning; and science, technology, engineering and math initiatives.
He is a logistics readiness officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, ensuring his squadron's fuels management flight delivers petroleum resources to the Air Force's aerial weapons systems and vehicle management flight maintains vehicle fleet readiness.