Custodian Lands Dream Job After Earning Degree at 54

Michael Vaudreuil had to start over when he lost everything in 2008
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2016 7:05 AM CDT
Custodian Lands Dream Job After Earning Degree at 54
Michael Vaudreuil received a degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in May and will soon be employed by Pratt & Whitney as an engineer.   (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Michael Vaudreuil first made headlines in May when the custodian received a degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts-based Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the very school the 54-year-old had spent the past decade cleaning. Now he's got another big announcement: a dream job with multibillion-dollar aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, where he'll work as an engineer with the Production Integrated Product Team, reports the Washington Post, which notes the job offers "poured in" following news of his graduation. "I feel like I won the lottery," he tells the school's Daily Herd. But he's got a message, too: Never give up. "Nobody's going to question my work ethic, my energy level, or my desire," he says.

Vaudreuil's story of hard work paying off has resonated with many, but it's also the tale of a circle completed—he earned an associate degree in aeronautical engineering in 1982. He ended up working as a plasterer, but in 2008 his business folded and he lost just about everything, including his home. When he found himself scrubbing toilets and chalkboards at WPI, he decided to make use of the school's free tuition for employees. "The thought process was: This is it for me," he told the Boston Globe in May. "Your back's against the cliff. You either jump off, or you fight for your life." And fight he did. It took him almost 10 years to finish his degree, and even though his new gig requires a move to Connecticut in advance of his July 11 start date, he's still finishing the month as a custodian. (This teen was in a coma during his graduation, but his classmates made sure he didn't miss it.)

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