Daniel Eschete

Daniel Eschete Handcrafting a New Career

On-the-Job Training Program

Daniel Eschete, 44, had worked for 10 years as a materials manager making a high salary for electronics and telecommunications products. When his plant downsized in 2003, he was laid off and Eschete came to the Alabama Career Center to discover his employment options.

Eschete was eligible for the on-the-job training program and mentioned that he had a desire to learn more about carpentry because he had done carpentry work around his home, enjoyed it and believed he had a talent for it. As there were no such jobs then offered in the on-the-job training program, Eschete took the initiative to research, visit and talk to about fifteen local cabinetry and woodworking companies to pitch both the Mobile Works program and himself. It paid off—he found a local company, Kleinschrodt Cabinets of Mobile, that agreed to participate in the Mobile Works on-the-job training program and take him on as a job training candidate.

Belinda Thomason, job developer for Mobile Works, then followed up with Ken Kleinschrodt to present the program to them, get them signed up and get Eschete on board with the company for training. Eschete also credits his and Thomason’s presentation of the incentives provided by the Mobile Works On-the-Job Training program with being a deciding factor for Kleinschrodt Cabinets, as he negotiated a higher starting wage than most apprentices make. [Daniel Eschete]

When he started Eschete had only a hobbyist’s knowledge of carpentry, but he has learned quickly and is now in the top tier of carpenters at Kleinschrodt. As an example of his transformation, after starting out with sanding and sorting various pieces of a cabinet unit, within two months Eschete was completing the construction of entire sets of custom cabinets completely by himself. “I love my new career and I have to give Ken Kleinschrodt credit for his skill in teaching me cabinetry because he has definitely lived up to his end of the bargain,” says Eschete. “But I have too—because without my own work ethic and drive, this just wouldn’t have worked—I definitely had to prove myself.”

But what Eschete says he would really like others to know is that even if a company isn’t currently participating in the Mobile Works On-the-Job Training program, “you can decide on an area you want to gain skill in, and be it jewelry-making or drycleaning, you can approach that company on your own and use the Mobile Works program as a bargaining chip to get the opportunity to prove yourself and ultimately get hired.”

Eschete finished his training in December 2003 and was hired by Kleinschrodt Cabinets immediately thereafter. Ken Kleinschrodt says, “I continue to be pleased with Dan’s abilities as a carpenter and his progress. He is working out well and fits in with Kleinschrodt’s environment.” As for Eschete, he is looking forward to the challenge of learning absolutely everything about custom cabinetry and expects to get closer to his former salary as he proves his knowledge on the job.

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