by Charles Thompson
Two weeks ago I started the best job I have ever had, and believe me I've had quite a few. You could say I’m the poster child of transferable skills. I went to college straight out of high school but life got in the way and I didn't finish. After many years of struggling and hitting that “no degree” wall, I returned to school, earned my Associate’s Degree at South Seattle Community College, and received my BA and Masters in Education degrees from the University of Washington. My Master’s program was in Higher Education Leadership and Policy with particular focus on student development and community colleges.
Ten years after earning that degree, I'm now doing the work I was so excited about in class, to open access to higher education for adults who have limited social resources or opportunities for a way out of their challenging situations.
I truly enjoy teaching eager students technical skills and sharing stories that illustrate the soft skills of professionalism and career excellence. But what really makes it all worthwhile is when I see that moment, that light come on, when a student who has struggled against so many social barriers sees themselves as a valuable member of the profession. They envision a future in a satisfying career pathway to help others and provide for their families a living wage with a confidence in continued upward mobility.
In Charlie’s “spare time” away from teaching or starting new projects he writes and edits fiction with a close group of writers, the 5 NW Authors. This past December the group published their first collective work, New Halem Tales: Secrets, 13 Stories from 5 NW Writers available at Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Nobel’s Nook stores and soon to appear in Google Play and Kobo. See a different side of Charlie at http://www.newhalemtales.com