I remember the first time I met Corbin Gerner. Corbin wasn’t even looking for one of our skilled trades programs and visited AAI with his friend for moral support. “I was only going to support my friend who was interested in AAI’s HVAC/BR program.” But after touring AAI Corbin left with such a great impression of the campus. “When I first walked through the welding lab I saw students cutting metal, grinding steel with sparks flying and I thought that it was the most awesome thing and instantly wanted to try it.”
Corbin is a United States Army Veteran who served five years in the Infantry, did a one-year tour to Iraq and served another year in Afghanistan. He was happy to see that AAI had a big military population, from staff, faculty to students and alumni. He felt right at home. He only had 11 months left on his G.I.-Bill and felt that the “timing was just perfect.” Meeting with our Admissions and Financial Aid team really helped him through the process.
When I first met with Corbin he mentioned that he had just finished his AA degree but still had no idea what to do with his career. I was able to help and guide him. After checking out the skilled trades programs AAI offered, he became more and more interested in our Combination Welding program and enrolled in February 2015. He had never welded before so this was new to him and was really excited to learn the welding trade. Throughout his program we kept in good contact and he always let me know how classes were going for him. He said, “Looking back now, the teachers and staff always checked on me and that kept me motivated.”
In anticipation of graduation Corbin started working more with the Career Services department. They were able to help him update his resume, helped him with interviewing skills and how to effectively present the skills he learned at AAI to a potential employer. After graduating in November, Corbin landed a job with DH Pace in Phoenix. “I now have the highest paying job I’ve had since getting out of the Army, I’m more than excited every day to go to work now!” stated Corbin.
As an admissions representative at AAI, I find that success stories like Corbin’s are incredibly motivating. Seeing him succeed made me feel like I played a small part in changing his life. Keep up the great work Corbin!
Written by: Karina Zavala, Admissions Representative – Arizona Automotive Institute