When he was growing up only a few blocks from Daley College, Jermaine didn’t know the role it would play in his education and in his career.

Jermaine was first introduced to Daley when he took his GED test there after dropping out of high school. He worked a few different jobs before landing at the Tootsie Roll factory, and moved up as much as he could to the role of machine operator. After that, he knew there wouldn’t be much more room to grow in the field without an education.

Going to college had always been in the back of his mind, so he decided to start classes at Daley College in 2010. He used many of the school’s resources while he was there. He visited the Tutoring Center, especially when he needed help in his English classes, and took advantage of the help offered at the Career Center, getting help developing his resume and preparing for job interviews. He was also able to give his perspective and input during the planning of Daley’s new Manufacturing Technology and Engineering Center, set to open in the spring of 2019. Little by little, while working full-time, Jermaine earned his Associate Degree in Manufacturing with a focus on Factory Automation in 2016.

Then, Jermaine was accepted into the Industrial Management and Applied Engineering (IMAE) program through Southern Illinois University. This program allowed Jermaine to complete his associate degree in advanced manufacturing at Daley before starting to earn his bachelor’s with SIU. The IMAE program was designed for working adults, so schedules and locations are flexible. In fact, Daley College’s new Manufacturing Technology and Engineering Center will become the area’s newest teaching site for the IMAE program.

Jermaine continued to work full-time at Tootsie Roll as he began the IMAE program in fall of 2017 – taking a full course load at satellite locations around the Chicago suburbs. Jermaine plans to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering Management in 2019.

In August of 2018, Jermaine’s hard work really started to pay off when he was hired at Legendary Baking of Oak Forest as manufacturing production manager. He manages between 20 and 60 employees on a given shift, makes sure that production is running smoothly, and suggests process improvements.

Thrilled with his new position at a great company with room to grow, Jermaine knows he won’t stop any time soon. Once he earns his bachelor’s degree, he plans to go on to get a Master’s Degree in Quality Engineering Management from SIU. He also plans to take a few more classes at Daley’s new Manufacturing Technology and Engineering Center for his own professional development.

When asked what advice he would offer to current Daley College students, Jermaine says, “I really encourage anyone looking for advancement in their career and education to work with the Daley College Career Center, and develop relationships with their professors, the advising department, and tutoring.”

He would especially like to thank his college professors, Dr. Julie MacCarthy, director of Daley’s Career Center, Jasmin Dobson, advisor in the Career Center, and John Cooper, the site coordinator for SIU’s IMAE program.

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