Advance or change your career through technical education

by admin16. March 2009 19:00

Sometimes your education and career path don’t pan out the way you had hoped, and you realize you need a new direction.


Such was the case for Joe Remillard and Jennie McMonagle, two Moraine Park Technical College graduates whose changes in career paths led them to Moraine Park’s doorstep.


Joe Remillard of West Bend changed careers after obtaining a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse and finding things didn’t quite go the way he had envisioned.

 Joe Remillard

“I spent two years trying to get into graduate school for physical therapy,” said Remillard. “During the application and job shadowing process, I worked at Target. When I moved back to West Bend, I continued to look into other physical therapy graduate schools and also worked with job recruiters to find a job in the science field.”


When it looked like graduate school might not pan out, Remillard approached friends and family for guidance, including an aunt who works as a preflighter at a large printing company in West Bend. They discussed graphic design and the printing industry, and Remillard decided to check out Moraine Park’s Graphic Communications – Electronic Prepress associate degree program.


“I liked the idea of taking more college classes,” said Remillard. “I knew that Moraine Park could help me find a career that I truly enjoyed.


“I knew that a lot of my credits from my UW experiences would transfer and I could finish the Moraine Park degree in less than two years,” he said. “Also, I was able to pay for tuition out of pocket. I am still paying off my school loans from UW–La Crosse and didn’t want to add more. I wanted a degree that was challenging, was not a financial burden and that I could finish in a reasonable amount of time.”


Remillard started the Graphic Communications program in fall 2006 and completed it in December 2007. Prior to graduation, he gained valuable real-world work experience in the field by working as a graphic design intern at the American Cancer Society in Waukesha and as a graphic designer at Minuteman Press in West Bend.


With his Moraine Park degree providing him with a new career path, three months after graduation Remillard landed a job as a desktop publisher/illustrator with InfoPros in Brookfield.


During his interview for that job, Remillard said, “Every question or sample that was requested of me, I had an answer for or a unique experience to share. I believe that Moraine Park helped me build a portfolio that made me stand out during interviews.”


For Jennie McMonagle of Maribel, a technical college education helped her advance her current career. In 2006, she was awarded bachelor of science degrees in biology and psychology from UW–Stevens Point. During her job search she discovered her degrees overqualified her for veterinary assistant jobs. Realizing she needed to earn the Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) credential to advance her career, McMonagle enrolled in Moraine Park’s online Veterinary Technician associate degree program. Upon completing the program in May 2008, she passed the state exam in June and achieved her goal of CVT status. Today, she works at the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center in Appleton as the night shift leader and CVT.

 Jennie McMonagle

“I wouldn't be able to hold the position I have or have any of the opportunities to grow in my profession without Moraine Park,” said McMonagle. “I was at a point in my life that moving to another city and sitting in a classroom all day was no longer an option for me, so the online program was perfect for my needs.”


If you’re considering a career change and don’t know where to begin, Moraine Park Technical College can help. Career Center instructors are available at each campus to help with career planning.


“Moraine Park’s free services offer support for anyone who is facing a career change or who wishes to build their academic career skills,” said Patty Warfield, the careers instructor at the Beaver Dam campus.