- High School CTE
Husband and wife, Jeremiah (37) and Danielle (32) Lippencott, share how PLCC has helped both of them gain the knowledge, skills, credentials, and confidence to provide a better future for themselves and their family.
Danielle: When I was growing up in New Philadelphia, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I went to college for a while but it wasn’t for me. Since 2009, I was a State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) at nursing homes, for home care and for a geriatric/psych hospital.
Jeremiah: I grew up in Gnadenhutten. My mom was not able to work so to provide for her and my younger brother, I felt I needed to step up. I dropped out of school in the tenth grade to work at Tastee Apple in Newcomerstown. Along with that, I worked on anything that goes vroom: cars, trucks, four-wheelers, three-wheelers, chain saws, mowers, weed whackers, whatever. Family and friends would pay me to repair their stuff, and I used the money to help my mom pay taxes and support us.
Danielle: We’ve been married for three years and share three kids, ages 16, 9, and 3. There was a nursing shortage during the pandemic so it felt like a good time for me to further my education as a Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN). Initially, I started at a school in Canton but I didn’t have a good experience there. I did a search and found PLCC’s LPN program.
Jeremiah: We decided that when she finished, I would enroll at PLCC in their auto tech program.
Danielle: I didn’t work while I was in school, I stayed at home to take care of the kids and study. Jeremiah was very supportive. Our PLCC story wouldn’t be possible without our teamwork. We’ve come a long way together.
Jeremiah: We’re best friends and we motivate each other. We know we’re doing this for our family’s future.
Danielle: We live in Port Washington, about 20 minutes south of New Philadelphia. There is a local technical school that offers a similar LPN program but it’s double the cost. PLCC’s 16-month part-time program for LPNs appealed to me because I wanted to take it a bit slower so we’d still have family time.
At PLCC, they helped us fill out paperwork for our Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and apply for Pell grants and scholarships. My tuition covered everything, including a nice stethoscope and pulse oximeter.
Because I started in August 2020, during the pandemic, most of my class time was on Zoom but I did have to go up to PLCC at least once a week for tests and clinicals. Our instructors were beyond amazing, and made sure that we got all of our skills in so we could practice before boards. I’ll never forget the first time I cared for a patient who was on tube feeding. I learned how to crush the medications and mix them with water, and how to put a syringe in the tube and pull out stomach contents. It was pretty intimidating but my instructor was there with me, talking me through the process.
I graduated from PLCC in November 2021. I passed my boards in January 2022, and now work as an LPN in the oncology department at Southeastern Medical Center in Cambridge.
I like working in oncology because I not only get to help people when they’re feeling their worst during treatment, I get to celebrate with them when they’re in remission. I think what I bring to the table is a very caring attitude and excellent attention to detail. My goal is to eventually become a registered nurse (RN).
Jeremiah: For 20 years, I was known as a backyard mechanic. I eventually earned my GED and intended to earn my certificate at a local tech school but something always got in the way. I worked in a couple of car repair shops but my core business was driving around for repair shops and picking up parts and scrap. I knew what to get, where to find it, who to call, and I even knew how to install it. I had guys from other repair shops calling me for technical advice, but without my auto technician certificate, I wasn’t able to advance in the auto repair industry.
Based on Danielle’s experience, I realized that PLCC was the only place I’d feel comfortable. When she graduated, I was determined and ready to go. I started class in August 2021.
The evening classes, Monday through Thursday, 5-9 p.m., made it possible for me to work 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hill Valley Auto in Newcomerstown. I use the two-hour transition time for family time, errands, and the one-hour drive to PLCC. It’s a lot but my family has kept me going.
PLCC’s automotive technician curriculum is amazing and I wouldn’t change a single thing. Ron Balis, our instructor, has been an auto technician for decades, so he’s very knowledgeable and teaches from real-life experiences.
I’m on track to graduate in May 2022. I’ve taken all the tests and passed everything so I’ll leave with my entry-level Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification which will show customers that I’m a certified mechanic. I’ve put in the hours, done the work, and met the industry standards.
I plan to open my own repair shop and eventually earn my ASE masters certification. I’ll probably be 40-41 years old before I complete everything but that’s my goal.
Danielle: If we didn’t go to PLCC, we’d probably still be living off of government assistance. I’m not going to lie, it was hard to miss out on some of the kids’ stuff because I had homework or a project due. But nursing is hard and it’s a job where sacrifices have to be made. The instructors at PLCC are so supportive and if you’re struggling to juggle family and school life, they’ll help you. For us, family dinner was a priority every night because that’s where we connected as a family. I’d study after the kids went to bed. We told our kids that we had to go back to school because it was for the good of our family’s future, and they understood that. The PLCC experience has shown our kids that there’s a need for higher education, and that they can go to a tech school and have a career.
Jeremiah: If you’re wanting to take that first step toward building a career that you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life, PLCC is the place. Our PLCC experience has definitely made an impression on our kids. I’ve shown them that I have perseverance, dedication, and structure. I followed through and didn’t back out. If not for PLCC, I’d be stalled in my career. It’s been the stepping stone to get me where I want to be.
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If you are a high school student, please note that you will have several opportunities to visit PLCC during your sophomore year.
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Portage Lakes Career Center is accessible to visitors with physical disabilities. Visitors should contact the Main Office at 330-896-8200 prior to arrival for parking instructions and other information.