Manufacturing a Nursing Degree

Alex Onufriychuk at work as a machinist at DARCO Manufacturing.His employer is paying half of his tuition as he pursues a Nursing degree at OCC.

Alex Onufriychuk always dreamed of a career in a medical field. His employer, DARCO Manufacturing, is helping him achieve his dream. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity they gave me to work and go to college. I’m very thankful,” he said.

Onufriychuk, whose real first name is Oleksandr, grew up in the Ukraine where entry into a medical profession was extremely difficult. He chose instead to earn a master’s degree in economics and work as an economist. He enjoyed it but the medical profession was always his passion.

In 2007, Onufriychuk immigrated to the United States. Shortly after arriving he began working at DARCO Manufacturing as a machinist. DARCO is a Syracuse-based precision machining services company which provides production machining, CNC machining and machined parts to its customers. “When I came to the United States my English level was not good. I decided to start a new career and take my time before I participated in college here.”

During his first several years in Central New York Onufriychuk became an American citizen, married and he and his wife became parents to a beautiful baby girl. Eventually his grasp of the English language improved to the point where he felt he was ready to go to college and pursue a Nursing degree. DARCO offered to pay 50% of his tuition even though his career goal wasn’t related to manufacturing. “When people feel they are valued in a way that validates something that is at the core of who they are as a person, it has a ripple effect on the work they are doing,” said Melissa Menon, DARCO’s Talent and Community Engagement Manager. “It affects the way they approach their work here and how well they do in their coursework.”

In 2015, Onufriychuk began taking classes part time at Onondaga Community College. He focused on Nursing program prerequisites. DARCO tailored his work schedule around his education, providing him the opportunity to continue to support his family while pursuing his dream. “I’m very grateful, especially for General Manager Laura Miller. She works with me when I need a day off for appointments or school. I make up the hours and get the work done when I can.”

Today the 35-year-old Onufriychuk’s coursework has advanced to the point where he only works at DARCO two days a week. He is on track to complete his Nursing degree in two years.

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