Philip Park is doing everything he can to prepare himself for future success.
He recently finished his four-level plumbing apprenticeship through Laurel Ridge Community College Workforce Solutions, is continuing to work on his bachelor’s degree and is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. Park is also finding the time to take a general contracting course through Casaflex training center.
After he graduated from W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County in 2020, Park, who was born in South Korea before moving to the U.S. in 2007, enrolled at Northern Virginia Community College to study business.
During the pandemic, he started helping his father, Seungmo Park, with his plumbing business.
“I’ve been working with him since 2020,” said Park, who lives in Gainesville. “This made plumbing a very interesting topic for me and a very useful skill to learn. It’s a good career option.”
The closest plumbing program was at Laurel Ridge’s Fauquier Campus, so Park enrolled in the Plumbing Apprenticeship program’s Level 1 in January 2022, finishing the program’s Level 4 in late January 2024. With FastForward funding, he only paid for one-third of the total cost of his classes.
“I genuinely am grateful that a plumbing program exists here at Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions,” he said. “I had great instructors, especially Mr. Darren McKinney. He wants us all to understand how we’re being taught and how applicable it is in a plumber’s life.”
Park also praised one of his first instructors, Raymond Anderson.
“He was the nicest guy who really cared about my education as a plumber,” he said.
Park plans to take his state exam to become a journeyman plumber soon, and can then take an exam for the master plumbing designation a year later.
Last April, Park signed up for the U.S. Army Reserve.
“As I train, and as I work in the Army, it reminds me of the people who raised me in this community,” he said. “I get to protect them and defend them. I look at it with high honor. It’s just a wonderful opportunity to defend the people here, and to help myself to open other doors in my life regarding my career and personal life.
“I love my time in the reserves. I have no regrets about joining the military.”
Park credits his faith with leading him to this point in his life.
“Overall, I thank Jesus for guiding me throughout my work and academic life,” he said.
To learn more about the plumbing program at Laurel Ridge, visit laurelridge.edu/plumbing.
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.