Ken Magee always planned on getting his degree, but life got in the way until now.
The 53-year-old father of two is the first to earn TCC’s new technical studies degree. Designed specifically for skilled workers who need formal education to advance their careers, the program awards up to 23 hours of credit for prior relevant job-related training and professional experience.
That allowed Magee, who received all 23 credits thanks to his background working at Virginia Natural Gas, to earn his Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies in just one year.
Twenty years ago Magee started with a shovel in hand installing and maintaining natural gas service lines for Virginia Natural Gas. Today, as a college graduate, he is the manager of community affairs at the company.
“This promotion is directly related to my degree. My managers saw what I was capable of doing and that I had the will and determination to see the program through,” Magee said.
Launched in 2018, TCC’s technical studies transfer degree allows students to seamlessly transition to Old Dominion University’s industrial technology major. Starting this fall, the associate can be completed 100% online; students will pay nothing for textbooks.
Magee plans to transfer to ODU next year.
“It was always in the back of my mind to get my degree, and the years continued to come and go,” he said. “It was when Virginia Natural Gas partnered with TCC to give credits for experience that I was really sold.”
Participating companies provide their employees tuition reimbursement, making their investment in education even easier to achieve.
Magee credits his own “motivational team” at his workplace with encouraging him to complete the program.
He’s not the only community college graduate in the family, either. Son Kenneth, 25, began at TCC studying business administration, and daughter Talia, 21, completed the dental hygiene program at Thomas Nelson.
“Your degree is something that you will use the rest of your life. It opens up your value to your company,” said Magee, who graduated with 3.0 GPA.
Magee now encourages others to follow in his footsteps.
“It’s important to invest in yourself,” he said. “Never put limits on yourself, develop a strong support system and then get going!”