Friday, October 21, 2011

Inspiring Success Story: Jason Holland

“I tell people thinking about school that it can be easy, when you’re focused,” ~ Jason Holland, newly employed Machine Trades graduate.

Jason Holland
Jason Holland was still finishing his LCC degree in Machine Shop when he started working at Waite Specialty Machine in Longview.

Jason was part of the wave of Manufacturing Occupations students who received American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding to pay for their first year at LCC. Out of 19 in their group, 10 earned their one-year certificates and two more left in their last quarter because they got jobs.

Jason went on to get his Associate in Applied Arts degree in Machine Shop, along with his high school diploma. In addition, he overcame another challenge: chemical abuse.

“I’m three years clean. My treatment counselor advised me to go to school. I took his advice and it really worked out.” Thanks to treatment, he had “a whole new train of thought” that boosted him through school.

LCC Machine Shop instructor Kam Todd not only taught Jason his new skills, but helped him find a job. Waite Specialty Machine had approached Kam right after Commencement looking for a recommendation. Todd knew Jason needed a job (Jason and his fiancee have eight children between them) and recommended him. Todd also kept in touch with Jason’s boss at Waite while Jason earned credit for his work experience.

Kam is often contacted by employers looking for good workers, and freely refers his graduates.

“My Manufacturing Occupations and Process Manufacturing students are getting jobs too. There are jobs out there, but employers want people with skills,” Kam explains.

Jason Holland and Jim Peters, his supervisor at Waite
Jason enjoys his work in the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine shop at Waite.I'm learning a lot every day,” he says.

“Waite has hired a number of people out of LCC, says Jim Peters, CNC Department Supervisor at Waite.

In fact, Jim is an LCC grad himself. “I was one of the first CNC students,” he explains. He has LCC degrees in Machine Shop and Automotive Technology, and also studied Diesel Technology before joining Waite. He even watched his Machine Shop instructor write the grant to buy the first CNC equipment.

“LCC instructors work hard at keeping the programs and equipment current.” Jim says.

Regarding the local job market, Jim says, "We’ve weathered pretty well at Waite. We’re diversified through different industries. It’s starting to pick up!”

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Inspiring Success Story: Cami Wood

“When I returned to school in the spring of 2006, I was unsure of myself...".

Cami Wood
This summer we heard from Cami Wood, a 2009 Lower Columbia College graduate and winner of the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, the largest award given to a community college transfer student nationally.

Cami wrote that she'd completed her bachelors degree in sociology at Brigham Young University, graduating with a 4.0 GPA, and  was accepted to the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. She starts in the Fall of 2012.

In her letter Cami said:

“When I returned to school in the spring of 2006, I was unsure of myself and my academic abilities. Fortunately I was guided and directed by amazing advisors, instructors, and supervisors who believed in me and pushed me to excel. Although I received an incredible education at BYU, it does not compare to the exceptional education I received at LCC. My experiences as a tutor taught me patience, study skills, and gave me greater confidence in my abilities. The classes at LCC were rigorous, thought provoking, and prepared me well for my undergraduate education. Thank you for guiding me, challenging me, and believing in me.”

We are so proud of Cami. A story from the Longview Daily News says it very well:

Scholarly Success: LCC's Cami Wood collects unexpected honor, The Daily News, May 16, 2009

Here's more about Cami, excerpted from Lower Columbia College's 2009 Annual Report

Transfer Advisor Pat Boerner congratulates
Cami Wood on the news of her scholarship.
Camiliana Wood won the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, a highly-competitive national award based on academic excellence, financial need, leadership, service, and drive to succeed.

The mother of three boys was one of 30 community college students — out of 500 applicants — to earn the scholarship in 2009. She is LCC’s second Jack Kent Cooke winner. The award will give Wood up to $30,000 a year to study psychology and political science at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She plans to later enroll at BYU law school and possibly teach law herself some day.

Returning to school wasn’t easy for Wood, who, besides earning straight-A’s at LCC and working in the Tutoring Center—ran two part-time businesses and volunteered as a Boy Scout leader, soccer coach and with Longview’s Summer Reading Program.

The scholarship will allow her to spend more time with her family. The Woods moved to Provo this summer.