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May 5, 2023

JCCC student nails down future at a national company

Five years ago, Ana Liz Perdigao didn’t speak English. This summer, she graduates from JCCC with a degree in construction management and starts work at the 13th largest general contractor in the U.S. She credits the College with providing the support she needed to make some big changes in her life.

Learning English at JCCC launches new construction career

When Ana Liz came to the U.S. from Brazil in 2018, her husband encouraged her to take free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at JCCC. After completing the program, she decided to take a few JCCC classes to continue improving her English. As her English improved, she began thinking about her future.

"Don’t be afraid to start something new. You can always find an excuse, but change is usually for the better." - Ana Liz Perdigao

In Brazil, Ana Liz had worked as a construction engineer. Unfortunately, her degree did not transfer to the United States, but her life’s work was calling. “I like math and puzzles,” she says. “And I love construction. That is what I wanted to do.”

So she started on her associate degree in construction management at JCCC, a program that’s in the top 65% of construction programs in the U.S.

Faculty support and scholarships lead to success

It wasn’t easy. She was still learning English, so online classes were especially challenging. Sometimes she had to work twice as hard as her peers because of the language gap, but she was determined to get back to the work she loved.

“I always had support,” Ana Liz says of her experience at JCCC. “For example, because of my English, I didn’t think I was ready to take the Construction Documents Technology (CDT) certification test from CSI, the Construction Specification Institute. But my professor encouraged me to take it. I passed, and now, I have the CDT certification on my résumé.”

She received two scholarships that gave her more time to focus on her studies. During a career day on campus, she met a representative from the general contracting company, J.E. Dunn, who let her know about their internship. She applied, was selected and interned there during the summer of 2022.

Just a few months later, J.E. Dunn offered her a job as an entry level project engineer after graduation. Her goal one day is to be a project manager, doing the kind of work she did in Brazil.

Ana Liz says starting over can be scary but going to JCCC was a great “restart” for her. “It really was a gift – and much more meaningful – to get this education later in life.”

“And you don’t need to do it alone,” says Ana Liz. “JCCC has many people who want to help you. From scholarships to help choosing and managing classes to resources and encouragement, there are people who care.”

Build a new future at JCCC

We have more than 50 career programs you can complete in two years or less. Our low tuition rates make college affordable. Flexible courses fit your schedule, allowing you to learn in person or online. You’ll also benefit from helpful resources like FREE tutoring and a support team to guide you.

Take a look at JCCC; you might just discover that you belong here.