SAN BERNARDINO (  —  A year ago, Camille Patterson was a single mom without a job or a place to live.

“After me and his dad separated, it got really hard. That’s when I started sleeping in my car,” Patterson told CBS 2’s Tina Patel.

What a difference a year makes.

Patterson went to San Bernardino County to sign up for welfare when she was told about a technical employment-training program.

Getting a job in manufacturing sounded promising but also a bit remote. She didn’t think she had the necessary skills to learn to become a machinist.

“Me?” she says with a laugh, “No, not me. I never thought I’d learn the trigonometry, the math, the angles, for how to build a part.”

Fortunately, the TET program is designed to help people looking for second chances.

“There’s a lot of people in there who have gone through a lot of different struggles, whether it be poverty or just  unemployment,” says Gilbert Ramos, a director with the program.

Today, more than 30 people graduated from the program. Patterson brought her son up to the stage when she received her certification to become a CNC operator.

“I want him to know every time I leave him it’s because [I want] to make something for our lives, I’m not out partying, doing irresponsible stuff at my age. Every time I  leave him, it’s for one thing, to work, to get us somewhere,” Patterson said.

She told Patel she wants others in her position a year ago to know that opportunities are out there.

“Don’t let nobody stop you from what you want to do,” Patterson says.

Training certificate in hand, Patterson says she’s already interviewed with a few companies and is hopeful she will start her new career as a machinist soon.


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