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Jamie Hawkins, graduate
I have a dream job working at a place I love. I wouldn’t have even known about these possibilities without Gateway.

A chance meeting, a conversation and a t-shirt – Gateway helps student change careers, find perfect fit

It was a chance meeting at just the right time that turned around the life and career of Jamie Hawkins.

Jamie had attended a four-year college right out of high school but realized it wasn’t the right fit for her. She went on to be a full-time server at area restaurants and was comfortable in that industry for quite some time.

She says she eventually became bored with it and felt her life wasn’t going anywhere. She wanted something more – something where she could reach her full potential. And then, as she pondered what that future would look like, in walked a Gateway Technical College Horticulture instructor wearing a Gateway t-shirt.

It was like attending Gateway was meant to be, says Jamie.

"I did that. I looked into the program online and liked it. I applied after that."

Jamie says Gateway has been a perfect fit for her. She earned a Greenhouse Operations associate degree and now works at an area company as an interior landscape technician and customer service representative.

"I was stuck in my job as a server. Gateway opened so many things for me, it changed my whole life plan. Actually, I really didn't have a plan and Gateway helped me to formulate one.

"Now, I have a dream job working at a place I love. I wouldn’t have even known about these possibilities without Gateway."

Jamie is a strong proponent of technical colleges and says Gateway provided her with the skills and knowledge to succeed in her new career.

"I am a really big fan of technical colleges – I think they are overlooked sometimes, especially when you're in high school. In doing my research, I heard great things about Gateway and realized it was the place I needed to go to.

"It's smaller than a big four-year college, but Gateway is very involved in the community and the education is great. A lot of people who graduate from Gateway go on to good jobs."

Jamie said strong hands-on education prepared her well for her career.

"I loved that you get hands-on learning at Gateway. The instructors all have worked in the industry and they have that perspective when they teach,” says Jamie. “They are all very knowledgeable about what they are teaching and care that their students are doing well. They will take the extra steps to help you."

Gateway’s location near her home benefited her as well.

"The location is great. I live in Kenosha, so this was perfect for me. I do know, though, that several students traveled from Milwaukee to take classes here. Gateway’s Horticulture program is well known and respected.

"I've met some amazing people here at Gateway."