Marcus Whittaker will receive his associate degree from Daley College in December of 2019—but that’s only part of his story.

After growing up in Chicago, Marcus graduated from high school in Mississippi. He returned to Chicago in 1985 and enrolled at Malcolm X College. While at Malcolm X, Marcus took business courses for a year. From there he went to Triton Community College to study HVAC.

With some higher education under his belt, Marcus, 52, embarked on a career at Oak Park River Forest High School. He progressed from part-time custodian to building engineer. Even though he took early retirement, he knew there was more for him to do. Specifically, the father of two wanted to finish his education.

Marcus started in the fall of 2017 at Daley College. He is currently studying advanced manufacturing and takes classes in the state-of-the-art Manufacturing Technology & Engineering Center, which prepares students for the tens of thousands of anticipated jobs coming to the region in the engineering and advanced manufacturing fields during the next decade. Marcus is learning a wide range of skills through his coursework at Daley, including CNC, welding, and factory automation.

“My experience at Daley has been outstanding; the classes touch all the bases in terms of teaching me what I need to know,” said Marcus. “Everything about being here has been positive—it’s a big reason whey I’m headed towards accomplishing my goal.”

That goal is a bachelor’s degree. Marcus plans to transfer and start at Governors State (GSU) in the spring of 2020 in the manufacturing management program. Following completion at GSU, he’d like to start his next career as a welder.

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