Aspire Program: Paving the Road to Success
by Tracey A. Maine
Derek “Scott” McGlaughlin, born and raised on a farm in Southeast Ohio, had a life beset by a series of hardships. Upon graduating from high school in 1991, McGlaughlin learned that he would soon become a parent. Knowing this, he then enlisted in the military, as it was considered his most reliable career path at the time. He was released in 1993, and found himself with a wife and child to support at home.
After his experience in the military, McGlaughlin pursued a career path in criminal justice and enrolled in the Police Academy at Hocking College to become a police officer. He then spent time traveling around the country working jobs such as firefighting and manufacturing. He later began suffering from PTSD and other health-related issues that prevented him from performing strenuous physical labor.
According to McGlaughlin, a pivotal turning point in his life involved him getting arrested on a DUI charge. This conviction required him to take part in a Driver Intervention program, which taught him how he could help himself by being of service to others. McGlaughlin has continued to remain an active participant in the Driver Intervention program as both a speaker and mentor to other men and women who have a history with drugs and alcohol.
Scott later moved back to Southeast Ohio to take care of his elderly grandmother; but once again, he found himself struggling to find a reliable career that was right for him and his family. One day while traveling down Ohio SR 287, McGlaughlin noticed that he was driving alongside a Hocking College Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training truck. Having grown up on a farm, McGlaughlin had always considered himself to be “someone who could drive anything”, so he chose to look into the CDL program that Hocking College offers.
After enrolling in the program, McGlaughlin was disappointed to find out that his chances of going back to school on a GI Bill had expired, and he felt he had no other option than to drop out. Once again, McGlaughlin felt lost and hopeless at a chance for a successful future. Luckily for Scott, the CDL program manager, Jimmy Kern, wasn’t ready to give up on his new student. Kern worked with Ginger Gagne, the Aspire program manager, to present McGlaughlin with another chance at this opportunity through funding and free educational resources.
The Hocking College Aspire program provides high-quality basic educational services to assist adult learners in acquiring skills to be successful in postsecondary education, training and employment, earn a living wage and be contributing members of society. Although McGlaughlin had never considered himself to be a great student, he says that the Aspire program helped him “refresh his basic math and composition skills, boost [his] self-esteem and help prepare [him] to become more competitive in the job market.”
On McGlaughlin’s new road to success, he (as with all Hocking College CDL students) began his first forty hours of Commercial Drivers License training in the classroom learning to keep accurate logs and being introduced to all of the rules and regulations that professional truck drivers must abide by. The second portion of their training involves learning to drive trucks in a designated parking lot on the Hocking College campus. When discussing his experience learning to drive the truck, McGlaughlin described it as “intimidating - but only for about three days”. He credits his change in attitude to his primary instructor, Jimmy Kern. McGlaughlin says that “he made time for each of his students. This helped make everyone become less fearful and built up every student’s level of self-confidence”.
After only three weeks of classes, McGlaughlin got a head start in looking for job opportunities in truck driving. To his amazement, in the short time between posting his resume online and checking for updates on prospects, he had received nine job offers - conditional on his successful completion of the program and licensing exam. In regards to his potential as a truck driver, instructor Kern says that McGlaughlin possesses the three essential qualities needed to be successful in the trucking industry: perseverance, punctuality and the ability to be a team player. He went on to describe his former student as “someone who came to this program for not just its end results, but also to be good at the job his training prepared him for”.
McGlaughlin stated that he is extremely grateful for the second chance at life that the Aspire program gave him. In particular, he wanted to thank Ginger Gagne who he said was “always ready to go above and beyond to make sure I had the support, encouragement and financing I needed to succeed in the program”. Overall, he credits the Aspire program with “changing the entire trajectory of [his] life”.
To discover how you can benefit from Hocking College’s new Aspire program, visit www.hocking.edu/aspire or contact Ginger Gagne at email@example.com.