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Madison Park grads keep the city’s lights on

Fresh out of high school, Joshua Padilla, Adriel Carvajal and Jay Barbosa go to work every day maintaining the city’s over 70,000 street lights.

On a typical day, 17-year-old Padilla said, they’ll come in, prep the trucks, test the light fixtures and head out to their first job site.

“Since I’m a city worker, when I’m working I get more people that come up to me and talk and they always have questions about the lights,” said Barbosa. “So that’s pretty new, but also I enjoy that because they want to take care of their community, which I would probably do the same. It’s pretty nice, and I’m a friendly person too, so it doesn’t bother me.”

The three are among the first cohort to get a jumpstart into city work through a new job pipeline for grads of Madison Park Vocational Technical School. Earlier during their senior year, they met with department officials, liked the job opportunity and applied.

“When we were presented with opportunity, it really changed — I’m not gonna say it changed my life, but it was like a stepping stone,” said Carvajal. “My first step to being an adult, and I leaped at the opportunity.”

This is the first year of the pipeline, said Street Lighting and Asset Manager Michael Donaghy.

“We were really looking for different and creative ways to recruit talent,” said Donaghy.

Through a connection, Donaghy said, the department reached out to Madison Park in the summer of 2022 and worked out an opportunity to meet with students.

“So we met with them and were immediately impressed not only by their technical skills, but their professionalism and ambition to pursue a career in the electrical field,” said Donaghy.

It’s a win-win situation, Donaghy said, giving the students a direct shot at working in their field and advancing their careers while addressing critical city staffing with well-trained candidates.

Through the program, the city pays for the opportunity to get an electrician’s licenses, pays for CDL licenses, and gets the grads started on a city pension plan and city benefits.

“I knew I probably have the technical capabilities to be able to just come here and maybe start off not as low as I would think I would,” said Barbosa. “Because I have pretty much have four years of experience of electrical.”

Madison Park, the grads said, gave them the basic experience with things like wiring and building.

As for the future, Barbosa and Padilla said they’re planning on sticking with the job long enough to build a career and future paths. Carvajal added he plans to get his electricians license and work towards owning his own company.

“I never thought I’d be doing this,” said Barbosa. “If I went back until my freshman self and said I’d worked in the City of Boston at 18 after high school, I’d probably be like, ‘Nah.’ But now I could work here, build off of that, and even create a career for myself, and so on, so forth. And anybody could do that. So I’d tell students just keep your options as high as possible. And don’t limit yourself.”

Madison Park graduates Adriel Carvajal, Jay Barbosa and Joshua Padilla checking LED roadway streetlights at the city Street Lighting Yard in Roslindale. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)
Madison Park graduates Adriel Carvajal, Jay Barbosa and Joshua Padilla checking LED roadway streetlights at the city Street Lighting Yard in Roslindale. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)
Madison Park grad Joshua Padilla checking a LED roadway streetlight at the city Street Lighting Yard in Roslindale. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)
Madison Park grad Joshua Padilla checking a LED roadway streetlight at the city Street Lighting Yard in Roslindale. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

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