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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Inspiring Success Story: Kinzey Wilson

Student artwork lights up cover of class schedule and musical concert programs!

This beautiful painting featured on the cover of the 2011 Fall Class Schedule was created by Kinzey Wilson, an art major at Lower Columbia College.

A lifelong resident of Longview and former R.A. Long student, Kinzey is considering a career working as a museum or gallery curator or teaching art. Her painting is also featured on the program cover for the musical concerts presented by LCC vocal and instrumental groups this year.

Good luck Kinzey!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Inspiring Success Story: Carrie White

“There was more to my degree than a piece of paper…I got the confidence that, yes, I can do this!” ~ Carrie White, Accounting Technician graduate

Carrie White picked up accounting skills on her own and worked in the field for years, but after being laid off for the second time, she decided it was time to layoff-proof herself a bit.

Carrie White got a job with Cowlitz County
while finishing her Accounting degree

She graduates from LCC in December 2011 with an Accounting Technician Associate in Applied Science degree, but her education has already paid off.

She started Oct. 3 as an accounting clerk with Cowlitz County Public Works. In her new job, she handles reception, takes payments, and handles the fleet maintenance records; tracking fuel, parts, mileage, service and more.

The Trade Act provided federal funding for her education, and she took 18-20 credits per quarter so she could finish in less than two years.

She almost didn’t apply for the county job. What if she got it, and found herself with an overwhelming work and school schedule? She had plenty of competition, too. “There were 30-50 other applicants in the testing room, two nights in a row.”

But the combination of her degree and those years of work experience set her apart.

“There was more to my degree than a piece of paper…I got the confidence; knowing I am smart, and that I belong here; and the encouragement from the instructors. I got the confidence that, yes, I can do this!”

When she was hired, her instructors accommodated her work schedule and her family stepped up to help out, so she could handle the months of full-time work and school to finish her degree.

Carrie was determined to get the most from her experience, and made the President’s List with straight-A’s all the way through. She prepared herself for her first “B” this fall, but that’s OK, she says with a chuckle.

A 1990 Castle Rock High School graduate, she’s the mother of three (21, 17 and 15) and a new grandmother. “My kids think it’s pretty cool that I went back to school,” she says, adding that her college experience has helped her family grow closer. “Now my daughter is doing Running Start.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Inspiring Success Story: David Peckham

"Honestly, I don't know where I would be right now without Kam (Todd). He really guided me." ~ David Peckham, Machine Trades graduate

David Peckham started his job at Macro Manufacturing in Portland the week after he finished his Associate in Applied Science degree in Machine Trades at LCC.

David Peckham checks out new Computerized
Numerical Control (CNC) equipment at LCC.
LCC Machine Trades instructor Kam Todd says he's in good company.

"There are jobs out there, but only for people with skills...All of my Spring and Summer graduates are working, if they want to be."

Employers looking for good workers often contact Todd, who freely refers his graduates

"My Manufacturing Occupations Certificate and Process. Manufacturing students are getting jobs too."

Actually, Peckham started out in the Manufacturing Occupations Certificate (MOC) program as part of a wave of MOC students who received American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding to pay for their first year at LCC. The ARRA assistance "was a great help to me," Peckham said.

He'd been laid off from his forklift-driving job, and came up dry in his job search. "There was absolutely nothing out there for work. I had a couple friends who were going to college and they really recommended it."

David and  his youngest daughter
Heather visit the LCC Machine Shop.
He came to LCC to get his GED, thinking he needed that before he could go to college, and was steered into the I-BEST Manufacturing Occupations program. I-BEST helps students succeed by providing extra help with the reading and math aspects of their training. It's also available for Business Technology, Early Childhood Education, Health Occupations Core and Nursing Assistant certificates.

The MOC program includes some Machine Trades training, and he really enjoyed it. "I like to watch things take shape."

So, after earning his one-year certificate in Manufacturing Occupations, he continued on to get his Machine Trades 2-year degree.

Because he completed an Associate in Applied Science degree, Peckham also received his High School Diploma, which especially delighted him. As graduation approached, he researched employers online, found Macro and sent his résumé. "My interview was my last day of class." He started work the following Wednesday.

He says Todd and his LCC education did more than get him a good job so he can support his family (he and his wife have four children).

"Kam Todd changed my life," says Peckham, who graduated with honors and was named the Machine Trades Student of the Year.

"Honestly, I don't know where I would be right now without Kam. He really guided me. He not only taught me the skills, but he transformed my attitude. He'll be one of the guys I'll always remember; always come back to check in with."

Instructor Kam Todd and David Peckham enjoy a visit.