William Curtis, Plumbing Maintenance Mechanic

 

William CurtisI am an East Baltimore native. My family and I lived close to Johns Hopkins, and my father used to work here. In my senior year of high school, he helped me get a weekend job in housekeeping. That was 24 years ago. I’ve been working at Johns Hopkins since 1993. Once I graduated, I worked in housekeeping full time for the next five years. Then, I was an associate in the ICU for another five years. After that, I worked night shift in the trauma unit. When I came to mechanical services, where I am now, I learned about the program that would change my life. There was an ad on the job board for a four-year plumbing apprenticeship. I applied and, luckily, was accepted into the program.

I went to school two days a week for four years and graduated with eight other people. The program took a lot of time, and it wasn’t easy, but I came out a licensed plumber and had an array of certifications and a raise to go along with it. The best part is that I have no student loans or debt. I have been a licensed plumber for four years now. With my apprenticeship, I didn’t have to pay for one book or tool. I just had to show up every day and do my best. Many of these programs will even work with your schedule.

My supervisor also started in housekeeping; in fact, we worked there together. Now he runs the shop as a master plumber. Next year, I can go for my master license, and I want to see where that will take me.

The typical day here varies. I focus on the backflow, and my job is to prevent contaminated water from getting back into the system. Let’s say that something is hooked up to the chemicals used in housekeeping. If that water becomes backed up, I make sure it won’t get into the drinking water. We also do a lot of new construction. We can take an empty room and make it into a bathroom. Sometimes we get emergencies, like pipes bursting. It’s busy, but we have a great team.

Hopkins is the only employer I’ve ever had, and I’m comfortable here; I love my job because this is a great place to work, and offers a wide range of opportunities and positions. I have worked with both patients and tools, and I can still go further — and I will.

I wish I would have used the programs sooner, but I didn’t have anyone to motivate me to do that. That is why I try to encourage as many people as I can to use the programs to move up. I tell them, “You can go from housekeeping to a nurse, and they pay for the full ride! You’ll go from a $10-per-hour job to a $30-per-hour career. If you want it, it’s available to you. Just keep checking the job board.”

Getting into the apprenticeship program is my most memorable day at Johns Hopkins. Learning this trade was a big move for me, and I’m ready to keep advancing.

—As told to Jennifer Wicks, Marketing and Communications

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Rating: 4.9/5 (15 votes cast)

William Curtis, Plumbing Maintenance Mechanic, 4.9 out of 5 based on 15 ratings

61 Comments

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Comments

Joye Alston,RMA January 9, 2018 at 11:31 am

Great story and may you continue to excel as you continue to grow with Johns Hopkins.

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William Curtis January 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Thank you

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Yevette Dixon January 2, 2018 at 9:25 am

Congratulations!

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William Curtis January 29, 2018 at 1:31 pm

Thank you so much Mrs Dixon

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Michele Ingram December 22, 2017 at 12:58 pm

Congratulations, William! I am very happy for your accomplishments! Your story is very inspirational and yes, we all need to encourage each other, but especially the young people. Many are not receiving proper guidance at home. When I was growing up everyone believed that it takes a village to raise a child. I still believe that and encourage anyone reading this post to consider mentoring a high school student next summer via the JHH Summer Jobs Program. There is no cost to departments, it is personally rewarding and it is an opportunity to give back to the Baltimore community. You can develop a 1:1 relationship with a young person that may make the difference between them being an asset to the community rather than a burden on society - https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/human_resources/education_programs/youth/summer_jobs.html.

There are opportunities to take FREE online trainings as a Johns Hopkins employee via the My Learning website which can prepare you for or lead to other types of certifications, i.e., A+, Microsoft Office, Six Sigma, Project Management, etc. The My Learning site can be accessed via the Education tab at: https://my.jh.edu.

There are Executive Education programs at the Carey Business School that are FREE to JHU/SOM employees and discounted for all others. You don’t have to have a college degree to take these course, just a desire to learn and grow professionally: http://carey.jhu.edu/exec-ed/.

There are also several programs available through JHH and JHU to help people pay for training and courses that lead to a college degree. See the links below. Annual tuition benefits range from $10,000 - $15,000 for JHH/JHHSC employees and $2,000 - $5,250 for JHU/SOM employees. There is even a program in conjunction with the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) where JHH/JHHSC employees can earn a FREE associates degree!!!

I encourage everyone to take advantage of these programs and let others know that these opportunities exist.

JHH/JHHSC Tuition Assistance Program: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/human_resources/benefits/tuition_assistance.html

JHH/JHHSC Certificate & Associate Degree Programs through Baltimore City Community College: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/human_resources/education_programs/employees/certification_degrees.html

JHU/SOM Tuition Remission Program: https://benefits.jhu.edu/tuition/remission.cfm

JHU/SOM Tuition Reimbursement Program: https://benefits.jhu.edu/tuition/reimbursement.cfm

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William Curtis January 29, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Thank for all the information I appreciate it, thank you

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Willie Jones December 21, 2017 at 7:50 am

Mr. Curtis,
Great job and keep full speed ahead!

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William Curtis January 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Mr. Jones thanks

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Winnie LaFrance December 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. I am so happy for you and all those you will inspire by sharing your testimony. God bless

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William Curtis January 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Thank you

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Vonda December 13, 2017 at 8:38 am

Good for you! Too many Hopkins employees have this same opportunity and for whatever reason don't take advantage of it. Keep rising and keep your head to the sky!

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William Curtis December 15, 2017 at 8:24 am

Thank you Vonda

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Angela Hill December 13, 2017 at 4:59 am

Very Encouraging ,Thanks for Sharing your story.This is truly a blessing to you and always good to hear something positive !!!

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William Curtis December 13, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Thank you so much Angela

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Opal December 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

This is such a great story. Keep inspiring those around you. We are very fortunate to work at an institution that has these types of opportunities. There are even career coaches available to assist you with your career goals.

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William Curtis December 12, 2017 at 1:52 pm

Thank you Opal... and yes Hopkins has a lot to offer, you just have to apply yourself...

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Phyllis December 10, 2017 at 8:57 am

It is a great testimony. Thank you for sharing. I work at night as a EVS. My goal is to get into Radiology. I don't work inside of Johns Hopkins, I work in one of the clinics. So we don't have a board or away to see information coming up. It would be really nice if they made the information more accessible. Thanks again for your testimony and encouragement to others.

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William Curtis December 11, 2017 at 10:48 pm

Thank you!! and you can check on the Hopkins website it’s the same as the bid board.

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Phyllis December 12, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Thank you, I will do my research.

Glynis December 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

Curtis I'm so proud of you, Take pride in how far you have come in how far you can go

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William Curtis December 9, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Hey Glynis thank you so much my friend

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Travis Moseley December 8, 2017 at 9:10 am

Great story. Your journey will inspire many people. Congratulations.

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William Curtis December 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Thank you Mr. Moseley

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GEM December 7, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Mr. Curtis, CONGRATULATIONS!
I was very proud of you and your accomplishments as a young man with dreams and goals.
Keep soaring like the Eagle.

Thanks for sharing such GREAT STORY.

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William Curtis December 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm

Thanks so much

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Donna G. December 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

Thank you for sharing your great success story with us William. I loved reading it!
:Donna G.

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william curtis December 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm

THANK YOU MRS.G

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Otelia December 7, 2017 at 9:37 am

Wow, what a great story and a job well done.
Keep encouraging our young people that life has a lot to offer and THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!!!!!
CONGRATS. I'm an employee @ Sibley

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william curtis December 7, 2017 at 1:57 pm

MRS.OTELIA THANK YOU!! AND YES I WILL CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE OUR YOUNG AND OLD THATS ALL WE NEED IS THAT LITTLE PUSH OH AND YES THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!

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Sonya Young December 7, 2017 at 7:53 am

Congratulations Curtis. I agree Hopkins does have plenty of incentives and opportunities for one to further their education and abilities. Motivation and encouragement is important which you have provided. Keep up the good work.

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william curtis December 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm

THANK YOU MRS. YOUNG AND YES MOTIVATE, MOTIVATE, MOTIVATE.......

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Lenora December 6, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Awesome story Mr. Curtis. So proud of you and the work you have accomplished. You are doing the right thing by encouraging others! Great job

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william curtis December 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

THANK YOU SO MUCH MRS.LENORA

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Mary December 6, 2017 at 8:15 am

What a great, positive story - thank you for sharing. May God continue to bless you!

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william curtis December 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

MRS. MARY THANK YOU

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Sheri December 6, 2017 at 4:22 am

Curtis, I am so proud of you. What a great story, one day I will tell mines. Good Job!!!!

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william curtis December 6, 2017 at 10:20 am

THANK YOU SHERI

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William Curtis December 5, 2017 at 10:00 pm

I would like to say thank you to all who committed on my article let’s all Work on getting our young people motivated to do better it can be done but it starts at home so let’s do it and that goes for me too. Thank You Again. William M. Curtis

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Lorri Levie December 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Great story William! Always enjoying hearing about someone seizing an opportunity, working hard and showing others it is possible. Good luck with your master license!

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William Curtis December 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm

Thanks a lot

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Flo A. Phillips December 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm

WOW! Glad to have you as a Hopkins co-worker. Keep on Keeping on. Walk in your purpose. Very encouraging!!!

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William Curtis December 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm

Thank you!!!

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Kiona Williams December 5, 2017 at 11:12 am

We can do ALL things through the Lord Jesus Christ who strenghthens us. CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done. I am sure this will encourage and motivate others to reach for the sky. William Curtis YOU ROCK!

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william curtis December 5, 2017 at 12:49 pm

thanks!! lets all rock

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ADRIAN M MOSLEY December 5, 2017 at 10:20 am

What a testimony! The only failure is in not trying. I am rejoicing with you!

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william curtis December 5, 2017 at 10:34 am

THAT IS SO TRUE.... THE ONLY FAILURE IS IN NOT TRYING!!! THANK YOU....

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Kim Allen December 5, 2017 at 10:11 am

I am so proud of you Curtis. I have had the pleasure of working with you in the past and you are correct Hopkins afford us the opportunity in furthering or education and the biggest challenge is motivating others to take advantage of these opportunities.

I wish all the best in pursuit of your master's plumber license. I hope your story inspires others out there to pursue their dreams.

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william curtis December 5, 2017 at 10:27 am

GOOD MORNING KIM THANK YOU AND YES THATS ALL I WANT IS TO INSPIRE OTHERS TO DO THERE BEST IT CAN BE DONE.....

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Margaret Peterson December 5, 2017 at 10:05 am

What a pleasure to see a familiar face being recognized! Nice work!

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william curtis December 5, 2017 at 10:31 am

THANK YOU!!

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Jordan December 5, 2017 at 9:07 am

Wonderful story. William, congrats on your success!

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william curtis December 5, 2017 at 10:31 am

THANK YOU!!

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Patty Dawson December 5, 2017 at 8:28 am

Mr. Curtis, you are inspiration! You are a living example of taking wonderful advantage of the many great opportunities Hopkins offers. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope many others who read it follow in your footsteps. May life hold many further opportunities for your further growth. pbd

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william curtis December 5, 2017 at 10:30 am

MRS. DAWSON THANK YOU AND YES HOPKINS HAS ALOT OF PERKS

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Sharon Strappy December 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

Mr. Curtis is truly an inspiration and I love reading about fellow employees and "feel good" stories from real people like me. Keep on advancing Mr. Curtis!

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William Curtis December 5, 2017 at 8:25 am

Thank you so much

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Evelyn McCann December 5, 2017 at 7:51 am

Congratulations! What a great story! My son is currently working in the Hospital, completed an electrical apprenticeship program and now has a career as a high voltage electrical technician. Hopkins is a great place to work!

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William Curtis December 5, 2017 at 8:27 am

Thanks and tell your son I probably know him congratulations

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Cynthia Brooks December 5, 2017 at 7:09 am

Congratulations, this is an inspirational & encouraging story.
The sky is the limit !

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William Curtis December 5, 2017 at 8:28 am

The sky’s the limit is so true let’s do it!!!

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Dee December 5, 2017 at 5:43 pm

Curtis I'm so proud of you. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Congratulation on your success. May the Lord continue to open doors for you.
Thanks for sharing your story.
Dee , CVSICU

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