Rochester Community and Technical College
Leah BarbosaHometown: Eden Prairie, Minnesota
Degree/Major: Facility and Services Technology
Like many young adults her age, Leah Barbosa, ’19, started on the traditional four-year university path immediately after graduating from high school. Even before completing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Leah realized her goal was not teaching in the classroom, but to work with youth in a mentoring or other programming capacity. With her four-year degree in hand, Leah started working as a lead in a Twin Cities childcare program. Unfortunately, Leah was making only $12.50 an hour, which was not a sustainable wage in the Twin Cities metro-area.
Leah began looking for other opportunities and was offered a position to lead a youth mentoring program in Rochester. During an outreach trip, Leah and her students visited Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) where one of the programs they toured was Facility and Services Technology (FAST). When Leah moved into a new position coordinating building vendors (the youth program’s camp property was undergoing a major renovation), she thought back to the tour of the FAST program and realized she wanted to take her career in a different direction.
Leah was at a crossroads. She applied and was accepted into a graduate education program. She also applied and was accepted into RCTC’s Facility and Services Technology program. Although Leah enjoyed working directly with youth, she ultimately decided that the two-year FAST program was the best fit for her personal and career goals.
Leah graduated from RCTC’s FAST program in December 2019 and accepted a position at Rochester Public Schools as a Project Engineer in March of 2020. She has been coordinating facility work orders and COVID-related projects, and is a part of the team responsible for construction of four new buildings for Rochester Public Schools.