Emiliano Corona has always loved working outdoors from a young age, particularly with his father at his yard and lawn company.
“Since I was in middle school, I always wanted to be outside with my dad helping him with his projects. As I got older, every time I would drive by and see a construction site and saw all the machines moving, it interested me,” he said.
While Emiliano stated that at one point, he did consider college, but he knew deep down that working outside, and operating equipment was his real passion.
“After thinking about it more, I had to be honest with myself and realize that college just wasn’t for me, and I wanted to work in an environment where I would be working outside and doing something new every day,” Emiliano said. “After that, I started researching the difference between non-union and union and realized that I wanted to work for a union contractor to make a great living and to have a great pension and health insurance.”
Emiliano is now a Local 49 apprentice and is currently working for SM Hentges, where he has primarily been working on road construction projects.
“Early in the summer, we worked on a highway project in New Prague, and now we’ve been working on a huge road project in Mendota Heights,” he said. “I really want to become a backhoe operator. Ever since I’ve been able to work around them, I’ve been very interested in learning the specific ways you dig with them, what you need to look out for when you’re operating them, so that’s the main piece of equipment I want to learn more about.”
Due to Emiliano working this construction season, he has only taken a few courses at the Training Center. Still, he says that he’s excited to return to the Training Center during the off-season to continue with his courses in the apprenticeship program.
“I was able to get to the Training Center when I had a rain-day and operate a roller, and I have taken some in the classroom courses, but I’ll definitely be heading back up there once I get laid off,” Emiliano said.
Emiliano says that he encourages younger people who are considering a career in the construction industry to take the leap.
“My advice would be to really think about what you want and not to feel like you need to go to college just because that’s what everyone else is doing. If you’re thinking about a job as an operator, I say go for it. You will be able to make a great living right out of high school and be in an industry where your career can grow,” Emiliano said.
For more stories like Emiliano’s, visit www.local49.org