Welder apprentice always had her eye on skilled trades

Dec 16, 2022

When Sanjay Bonner first hired into Ford Motor Company as a temporary full-time worker, she knew that eventually she wanted to work in Skilled Trades. She waited, learned and when she was able to apply for an apprenticeship, she did. 

“I didn’t care which of the three chose me first – welding, electrical or pipefitting – I was going with the first. So welding it is!” Bonner said. 

She takes classes for her apprenticeship at Monroe Community College. She is required to complete 100 apprentice tasks and log 8,000 shop hours, done under the watchful eye of Journeyman Arturo Quintana.  

“It’s intense but I enjoy learning. My task book keeps me on track,” she said. 

Bonner plans to finish her apprenticeship in less than the four years it usually takes. At the same time, she is taking classes to earn an associate degree in Applied Science. 

“I am blessed to have people in this plant who continuously give me words of encouragement and guide me to be an apprentice. My family and my friends also are supportive and happy for me in my choice,” Bonner explained. 

“If I’m going to be somewhere, I want to be happy and to make a difference. Learning to weld and do repairs – that is work that matters and that’s what I want to do,” Bonner said. In the future, she hopes to be a mentor to other new welders. 

Bonner joined Ford Motor Company in 2016 as a temporary full-time employee at Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Three years ago, she was one of 10 at FRAP who were sent to work at Woodhaven Stamping Plant, where she became a full-time employee in January, 2019. As soon as she was hired full-time, she took the three classes to get on the trades list. 

 “I liked it here (at WSP) the minute I came,” Bonner said. “I knew I wanted to stay with Ford, so I was patient.” 

Are you interested in joining Skilled Trades? Three standardized classes of the UAW-FORD Industrial Readiness Certificate Program are required. For more information, please reach out to your local ESSP plant representative or visit www.uawford.org/njap