Skip Navigation

College News

Veteran gets career change help at CLC

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 24, 2022

College of Lake County (CLC) provides an affordable opportunity for anyone to go to school, including those looking for a career change. Connie Storer took advantage of this chance after finishing active duty in the Army by getting a degree in Computer Information Technology (CIT), an interest that started during her service. 

Connie StorerStorer went on active duty in 1978 after earning a degree in microbiology from the University of Maine and completing their Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. When she entered the military, however, she wasn’t assigned a specialty related to her degree. Instead, she was given a job in supply management. 

That job and her growing love for computers led Storer to pursue a career in CIT. 

"While I was working in the Army, I really wanted to study it,” she said. “I kicked myself for not having done it when I was in college, but I didn't know back then I would like it so much. The advent of personal computers for use in the office cemented that interest.” 

In 1989, she transferred from active duty to the Reserve and continued to serve until she retired in 2005. 

Storer began attending CLC in 1993 because she lived in the county, and it was affordable. She had veterans benefits from Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) and used them to pay her tuition. 

With a degree from a four-year university already under her belt, there wasn’t too much of a transition for Storer. She already knew what it took to study and succeed in college courses. 

“Having already done a bachelor’s degree, the process was easier for me,” she said. “It also made it fun. I didn't really feel like I was a student. I was just having fun studying something that intrigued me.” 

Storer enjoyed how hands-on the instructors were at CLC, something made possible by the smaller class sizes. 

“A good number of the faculty worked in the industry, so we were getting all of the current information,” she said. 

Not only was Storer going through a career change, but she was still working full-time. The option to take evening courses meant she could go to class when it best fit her schedule and still take everything required for her program. The same was true for the computer labs being open late, which was especially helpful since most people cannot afford to buy all the required programs for their computer at home. 

At the time, Storer was working for the Department of the Army at Fort Sheridan doing logistics. Finding a schedule that worked was an adjustment for her, but something she was able to adapt to. 

Even before graduating, Storer was able to get a new job in her field as a computer specialist. 

“What community colleges offer you is an affordable way to go to school and to be able to do so where you grew up,” Storer said. “There’s also an opportunity for those who aren’t coming right out of high school that are working full-time.” 

Storer enjoyed her time at CLC so much that she continues to take courses, both non-credit classes for fun like Chinese cooking and professional development courses to improve her skill set.  

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.