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Helped by Gateway and a Promise, graduate quickly earns skills to solid-paying career

Taran Cole March

Taran Cole knew he wanted to go to college after high school, but he also realized he didn’t want to go to a four-year college.

His reasons were academic as well as financial.

He says he didn’t want to spend the time to earn the four-year degree, and then be unable to land a job after graduating. He wanted a degree where he could gain the skills within two years and have a solid chance of being able to land a job and enter a career.

Taran turned to Gateway’s Gas Utility Construction and Service program – and he met success. He has already secured a job in the gas industry before graduating from the one-year program and is looking forward to entering what he hopes is a lifelong career.

“I knew I would be able to find a job in the trades or an industry like gas utility,” he says. “I met with Gateway representatives, and they said it would only take nine months of training and I could make a great wage. That made my mind up for me – and it’s been a great fit.”

Taran also has the prestige of holding a first at Gateway – the first graduate to participate in the college’s Promise program. Taran says he would have been unable to attend college – and reap the benefits of a new career with solid wages – without the Promise program.

Funded entirely by private and corporate donations through the Gateway Foundation, the Gateway Promise ensures Kenosha County, Racine County and Walworth County high school graduates, who meet program eligibility requirements, can attend college at Gateway tuition-free. The Promise program fills the gap between financial aid received and the cost of Gateway tuition and fees. 

Taran says if it weren’t for the Promise program, he would have gone to work straight out of high school and not gone on to college – and likely not received the earning power he has now thanks to career preparation at Gateway.

“I was not as set up financially as I would have needed to be to go to college. Earning the degree in nine months and making solid money for an 18-year-old – that’s great.

“This has set me up for a career that I will do for the rest of my life.”