Adult Workforce Development student changed careers, battled cancer, and achieved success.
Ken Dunn, graduate, HVAC (Adult Workforce Development)
by Heather Rottenberger, Great Oaks Career Campuses
Ken Dunn grew up on the east side of Cincinnati. He graduated from Glen Este High School in 1985, earned an associate’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, and in 1988 he began his career in information technology and started a family.
He worked in the IT field for 30 years decided to make a change after being let go from a company after 13 years. So, to support his family Ken started working for an HVAC company owned by a couple of men that he knew. Both men had attended Great Oaks 25 years earlier and convinced him that he should attend Great Oaks’ adult workforce development program for HVAC.
According to Ken, “Changing careers and going back to school in your ‘50s can be scary. After committing to the class, I treated it as a job.” He emphasized how important it was for him to take copious notes and take advantage of class time. Ken said he really liked his instructor Adam, stating, “He made the class. Because of Adam, I learned what I needed to be successful.” Ken also felt that he and his classmates really jelled despite their varied backgrounds. He considered himself lucky to be a part of the class.
As a family man with a full-time job Ken expressed that he had to prioritize and rely on time management to be successful. He added that support from his employer and family helped too. Persistence was also essential, especially after Ken changed jobs while still in the program. His new employer was attracted to his background in IT and newly acquired HVAC training.
Ken developed lung cancer during this time. His new employer was supportive during his treatment and his latest lung scans were clear. Now that he is done with the program and only has a full-time job, Ken says he has more time for family. “It was a very good experience which got me on track to a new career in a new trade, also positively affected my family which is what it is all about,” he said.
For Ken, having the support of friends, family, and employers helped him achieve success at Great Oaks. He knows that no matter your age or background, changing careers can be intimidating, but career technical schools like Great Oaks are here to support you during your transition to a new career.