After a 20-year career at a steel plant, John Cooke has succeeded in retooling his skills for a major career change. He will soon complete his associate of applied science and a one-year certificate in electronic engineering technology – applied electronics at LCCC, as well as a short term certificate in micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS).

John Cooke

The best part for Cooke is that even before graduating from LCCC he has a new job lined up.

When the steel plant he worked at closed in March of 2016, Cooke had to make a decision, he said. “I could take my current skills and search for another job, or return to school and add knowledge and skills to better prepare me for a position in today’s ever-changing job market. I chose the latter,” he said. “My decision to return to school was obviously the right one.”

The 50-year-old has already received multiple job offers and accepted a position at Lincoln Electric as a quality assurance repair technician. He plans to take the summer off and begin classes in the fall toward an associate degree in MEMS at LCCC, with intentions to pursue the soon-to-come MEMS applied bachelor’s degree after that.

Cooke’s attitude has always been “work hard.” “This is my life that I’m playing with and I want to do my best,” he said. “I tried to give each class the time and attention it deserved which is evident by my G.P.A.”

The North Ridgeville resident originally chose LCCC for its close location and price, he said.

Quality professors are what helped make his college experience a successful one, Cooke said. MEMS Professor Johnny Vanderford is the one who stands out.

“He is in constant contact with employers to ensure that the curriculum we learn contains the knowledge and skills they are looking for in employees,” Cooke said. “He also alerts us of potential employment opportunities that are relevant to our training.”