Wednesday, 11 May 2022 12:57

2009 CREF Scholarship Winner Pays It Forward


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Most people have settled into their career by the time they reach the age of 39, so switching careers at such a stage in life may seem like a daunting prospect---especially when the choice was not of your own volition.

Susan Bock saw the challenge as an opportunity to expand her knowledge and examine her options.


Bock worked at an insurance agency for more than 16 years, but in January 2009, her boss informed her he had to let her go due to downsizing.


“It was quite a shock as insurance was really all I had ever known career-wise, but I realized this would be a good opportunity to explore different career options,” she recalled.


Learning she was eligible for a dislocated worker program since her former boss had laid off more than 50% of his workforce, Bock enrolled at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI. Rather than discarding her years of experience in insurance, she decided to capitalize on her existing knowledge by looking at career options that would use that experience.


“I enrolled in the vehicle refinishing and repair technology associate degree program because I figured that I would need to understand how damaged vehicles are repaired if I wanted to seek a career as an insurance adjuster or write repair estimates for a collision repair facility,” Bock said.


Fox Valley’s degree program gave Bock “introductory hands-on experience with understanding how to repair a damaged vehicle," Bock said. "The prospect of heading into shop classes with zero knowledge was incredibly daunting; it was quite an adjustment going from using office equipment to learning how to look for damage on a vehicle, weld---which I absolutely loved---hammer out dents, disassemble and reassemble parts of the vehicle and refinish vehicles, including looking up color codes and mixing toners. And those were just a few of the things I learned!


“Thankfully, our instructors Jerry Goodson and Joe Kircher were fantastic with teaching someone with zero collision repair skill or knowledge and providing a deeper understanding of the industry,” Bock added. “Their support, combined with my desire to learn all I could, allowed me to...

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