Balancing Act: Learning while you’re living
Published on Thursday, May 12, 2005
It’s easy to get content with your life once you get a good job and have a family. But some people have an internal drive to have more … to do more … to be more.
That was the case for Terry Deaver, Jr. of Holmen. He had a great job that would keep his wife and two daughters comfortable, but he felt he needed something more.
Deaver’s mechanical training in the military and his knowledge as a lumber inspector landed him a supervisory position six years ago at Ashley Furniture in Arcadia, Wis. Not a bad place to start! He earned a good income, but he felt he could do better; he could learn more, and be a bigger asset to Ashley.
He just needed a little push, an incentive to put in the extra effort to go back to school and pick up new skills while continuing to work and provide for his family. And he found that incentive in Ashley’s tuition reimbursement program.
More and more companies today are recognizing the importance of continual self-improvement and professional development for their employees and are offering tuition reimbursement.
“Ashley believes in promotion from within and strongly encourages life-long learning,” said Scott Rugotzke, Ashley’s Arcadia plant manager. Rugotzke further explained Ashley’s reimbursement policy – employees get 100 percent of tuition reimbursed if they receive an ‘A,’ 75 percent for a ‘B,’ and 50 percent for a ‘C.’ The drive to get good grades has a good pay off for the Ashley worker.
So, Deaver started to look for a way that he could continue his education while keeping his position at Ashley. He wanted to have a healthy balance between work, education, and his family.
Deaver’s search led him to Western Wisconsin Technical College. It offered him flexibility in his learning; he could choose from several different formats for his classes, including interactive television, online, accelerated learning, and traditional classroom offerings. Deaver ultimately decided on the accelerated learning courses in the Supervisory Management program, where he could take evening courses once a week and finish in two years.
“It was easy for me to schedule around the evening classes,” said Deaver. “And then I had the rest of the week to dedicate time for homework. It helped that the topics transitioned easily from classes to work. I was able to develop my team-building, communication, and listening skills by immediately using what we discussed in class.”
Ashley’s investment in Deaver paid off for them as well. “He’s brought much of his knowledge to Ashley and it can be seen in his great enthusiasm,” said Rugotzke about Deaver. “The drive that he has to pursue education is the drive he has here at work. That not only influences his success, but the success of others as well.”
During the two-and-a-half years that Deaver has been attending courses in the program, he has been promoted to a superintendent at Ashley. Deaver earned an associate’s degree in Supervisory Management and graduated from WWTC on May 13 with high honors.
Commencement and an associate’s degree is not the end to Deaver’s education. He is looking to make good use of the Baccalaureate Degree Completion (2+2) transfer agreements that WWTC has in place with several four-year colleges and universities that allow associate degree graduates to enter those institutions with junior standing.
“I wanted to make myself better,” Deaver said. “WWTC offered the type of program and flexible schedule that I needed to accomplish my educational goals and set my sights higher.”
To learn more WWTC Flexible Learning Options, please call 608.785.9200 or visit the WWTC Web site at wwtc.edu.