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Keynote to graduates: You’re entering the workforce at the perfect time, with the right education

Gateway Technical College graduates are entering the workforce at a historic and opportune time, one when employers seek applicants with the skills gained through a technical college education.

So said keynote speaker Michael Reader to a packed auditorium of Gateway graduates, family and friends, at the college’s graduation commencement ceremony Tuesday, May 15.

“It’s a time when employers struggle to find talent, passion and pride. It’s a time when wages, benefits and opportunities to advance abound as Baby Boomers age out,” said Reader.

“Regardless of your path, you all have discovered the value of the Gateway experience. I applaud each of you for recognizing the opportunity a technical career can afford you and your families.”

Reader is the president of Precision Plus, a leading-edge manufacturing company specializing in Swiss-turned components based out of Elkhorn.

The ceremony recognized 947 prospective candidates for graduation from Summer 2017, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters. Of that, 494 graduates earned an associate degree or technical diploma in Spring 2018.

A total of 395 students participated in the ceremony, the most since 2012.

Other commencement highlights included the presentation of the 2018 Gateway Technical College Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award to Sharbel Maalouf. Maalouf earned a Gateway Technical College Marketing degree in 2008 and currently serves as vice president for product development at Medline in its ReadyCare Division.

Yesenia Martinez-Hall, a 2018 Business Management associate degree program graduate, spoke as the student responder.

Said Martinez-Hall: “From the moment we students make the decision to embark on our educational journey at Gateway, we made the choice to change our path and improve our futures. The tools we’ve learned and the skills we’ve gained while being students here are incomparable to anything we have previously experienced, and the education we earned will help ensure our future success in whatever path we’ve chosen.”

The ceremony was held at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Sports and Activity Center, 900 Wood Road, Kenosha.