Darlene Mickelson

I was laid off from Advance Transformer in Boscobel after 34 years, during the economic downturn of 2008. There were very few jobs available and I knew that I needed to make my resume more marketable. The closest schools were UW-Richland, Western Technical College and Southwest Tech. My goal was to continue working after schooling and Southwest Tech held the most promising outlook.

It made a tremendous difference. I went from factory labor to being an Executive Assistant for Grant County EDC. I do the accounting, tax reports, and payroll and prepare monthly meetings. I am also a member of the Southwest Tech District Board, something I had never considered prior to attending SWTC. My biggest concern when I was laid off from Advance was that I was too old at 54 to get a job. My degree, combined with my past experience, made that good job possible.

I am now involved with Southwest Tech’s Rapid Response team. We travel out from the college to companies in support of employees that are losing their jobs due to layoffs and closings. I get very nervous standing in front of a group but it is worth it! Hopefully my personal experience might give them some encouragement. There is life after unemployment! It may be a different life, but with continuing education at Southwest Tech, it can be a better life!