DAVIE — Education is a lifetime pursuit. Some people earn degrees and certificates on a traditional timetable; others take a more circuitous route. For Joshua Josh, his path to earning a certificate in drafting was not smoothly paved. It wasn’t until after he dropped out of high school, abused drugs and alcohol, and had a family that he realized he needed to get his life on the right track. “I messed up a lot and lived the wrong kind of life,” said Josh, 30. “It finally got to the point where I needed to make changes in my life. I got clean, kicked all the drugs and alcohol and jumped into school.”
Josh, who has been sober for five years, got his GED at 26 and recently completed the coursework for civil, mechanical, structural and architectural drafting at McFatter Technical Center. Civil drafting is a type of technical drawing that shows information for land, roadways, large scale areas and towns; mechanical drafting is for machines; structural drafting is for steel beams, bridges and towers; and architectural drafting is for buildings.
Now that he has his certificate, Josh plans to build a career in drafting and would like to work for the Tribe. Before he went to McFatter, he had an internship in the Community Planning Department, which motivated him to study drafting.
“The Tribe does so much for us and gives us so many opportunities,” he said. “There is no reason not to go out and do something. We’d be dumb not to take advantage of it. I’d like to give back to the Tribe; after all, they paid for my school.”
His biggest challenge was changing his lifestyle so he could do something positive with his life. That led to the most satisfying part of his journey to date: completing the program. Josh credits his family, including his wife, children, mother, father and siblings, for supporting him and for inspiring him to continue his education. Since cleaning up his life, Josh has new-found confidence.
“I’m a Christian man and God’s been working in my life,” he said. “He’s been my strength through all of this.”
Josh, who lives in Davie with his wife, Karla, and their children Isabella, 7, Samuel, 6, Isaiah, 2, and John, 4 months, understands that education can change a life. He has sage words for others who find themselves in his situation.
“You are never too old to go back to school,” he said. “You won’t ever know everything – there’s always something else to learn. The more knowledge of things you have, the more power you have.”