By Aaron Barney

Aaron Barney was a participant in the Youth Program 

administered through the 

Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training. 

Aaron worked with Career Counselor Clare Balow and this is his story.

I believe I was in the 11th grade, which would have been in the year 2000, when I enrolled in the Youth Work Experience program through the Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training. While in the program, I worked out at the Cloquet Forestry Station. I maintained the grounds and worked with some pretty intense machinery, at least for a 17 year old! I learned how to run a large tractor, including learning hydraulics and how to run accessories off of it like a claw for moving logs around. I also was able to do some road maintenance as well. The program definitely helped me get my foot into the real world work environment. My partnership with the people at the Forestry Station, (who understood that I was fresh to the working world), helped me gain the confidence to do things that I would probably have never done.

When I decided to go to school, it was a no brainer to attend Dunwoody School of Technology in Minneapolis, MN for the 2 year Auto Collision and Refinishing program. It is known to be one of the best schools for vocational based training in America. The Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training was able to give me a grant to help with tuition when it came time to pay for the schooling, which helped immensely. After finishing the 2 year program, I worked for a few collision shops in the area. However, I felt there was just a piece missing while working for someone else. At the end of the day, after working for 8-10 hours and not feeling closer to where I wanted to be in life I decided that instead of working toward someone else’s dream I would be better off going on my own to pursue what I consider my dream – even if that meant taking a huge risk and possibly failing. I heard somewhere that the only way to move forward toward your dream is when the pull of wanting more out of life outweighs the fear of failure. So, I started my own business in 2008!

AB Collision Business Card

I guess if there is one thing I could say to someone who is reading this is if there is a desire to want more or something different out of this life, then you must step outside of what is normal and be ready to take a few metaphorical lumps, because once you step out from the crown it makes you stand out from the rest. The best way to overcome this is by surrounding yourself with people who are going in the same direction you want to go. Find a mentor who is doing what you want to do. Ask questions. Seek guidance. No matter the situation, you can always find an answer if you just look.

The best statement I can think of that I live by is:  Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal…it is not a destination, but a journey. If one can see that all journeys are different, having both ups and downs, then one will never quit in a valley because a peak is soon to come.

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