Area companies growing — and training new workers — through grant program

Altavian employees, including shop tech Chris Jernigan, polishing molds to be used for UAV’s, work in the shop building unmanned aerial vehicles, Thursday in Gainesville.

Working as a bouncer at a campus-area bar proved to be an entry into drone manufacturing for two employees of Altavian who were hired through a federal grant that pays part of their salary for on-the-job training.

Former auto mechanic Chris Jernigan, 27, was working in security at 101 Cantina when a former bouncer introduced him to Altavian’s chief of engineering, Thomas Reed.

“He asked me if I wanted to do something different with my life and make a little bit more money. I said ‘Absolutely. Why not?’ So here I am,” Jernigan said on Thursday afternoon while crafting parts on a workbench in Altavian’s northeast Gainesville facility.

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