"I'm a Pathfinder": Justin Turner | ACTC

"I'm a Pathfinder": Justin Turner

April 22, 2022

ASHLAND, Ky. – When Justin Turner reflects on his time as a student in the Advanced Integrated Technology program at ACTC, the word that keeps coming up is “opportunity.”

After completing a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown College in 2015, Turner returned to college to earn another degree that would give him a better chance at a high-wage career. 

“I didn’t necessarily want to go back to school, but I had to do what I had to do to support my family and give us more opportunities. So I went back to school,” he said.

Turner had previously earned a Bachelor’s in Science in Exercise Science with a minor in psychology.

“When I moved to this area, the best I could do with my degree was a PE teacher. If I wanted to do more with the psychology side of things, I would have had to gone to grad school, and I didn’t necessarily want to do that because it would have been more expensive to do so.” 

He says the career he had initially wanted simply wasn’t available in this area.

“My plan when I graduated was to become a sports psychologist, but at the time, I didn’t realize there isn’t a high demand for sports psychologists,” Turner said. “I would have had to move to a whole other state.” 

After researching the AIT program at ACTC, Turner felt that it would offer him opportunities to find a new path toward a good-paying job to support his family. 

“I had never worked in an industrial setting, but I thought this would be a good way to get some trade skills that I didn’t have before,” he said. 

Turner graduated with an Associate in Applied Science in Advanced Integrated Technologies in May 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He recalls having to finish up the program online and dealing with slow and unreliable internet.

Upon completing their degrees, graduates of the AIT program were reached out to by several industries, but Turner initially found that his lack of work experience in the field made it challenging to find a job despite his credentials. 

However, in September 2020, Turner began working at Vesuvius, and he knew it would give him the valuable experience he would need if he decided to make a switch to another company. 

That move came in October 2021 when he accepted a position at PureCycle Technologies, where he is employed today as a Chemical Operator. Currently, Turner is shadowing more seasoned operators and making sure equipment is operating properly.

Turner says he is appreciative of everyone at ACTC who did everything they possibly could to put him in the best situation possible.

“The professors there are always willing to help students as long as the students are willing to put in the work. They always give students the opportunity to shine and showcase their talents,” he said. 

Turner says the AIT program provided him with a well-rounded and rewarding educational experience. 

“The AIT program prepares you for all industrial settings and is the best program for an overall understanding of different industrial skills. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life, but it was so rewarding. I definitely got a good overall view of the industrial setting,” he said. 

He added, “My time at ACTC has opened up so many doors and opportunities for me. I’m proud alumni of the AIT program and I’m grateful to those that helped me find my path.”