Jonathan Patton has never been afraid to follow his dreams. The 32-year-old recent graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Package & Label Printing program is a quality assurance specialist who oversees work on all presses at Hattiesburg Paper Company’s Green Bay operation. Soon, however, he will be moving to Mississippi to manage the company’s new plant, and this opportunity is due to not only his industry experience, but also his training at FVTC.
Patton’s journey began in Picayune, Mississippi, and continued through many states. “In my younger years, I was serious about basketball. I went to school in Oklahoma and Louisiana and played a short stint for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks,” he says. “I came up north to be with my brother and finish a bachelor’s degree in communications at UW-Green Bay.”
Patton’s brother is Charles Woodson, a former Heisman Trophy winner and member of the Green Bay Packers, who won a Super Bowl championship with the team in 2011. While attending one of his brother’s games, Patton met a senior-level official at Hattiesburg Paper Company. That friendly encounter led him down a new career path. “I had always been interested in manufacturing,” he recalls. “He offered me a job in Green Bay, and I knew this was a great opportunity.”
To increase his technical capabilities, Patton enrolled in the FVTC program. “It was a no-brainer,” he says. “Fox Valley Tech is known as the best school for printing in the country, and going there made me more valuable to my company.”
Working while going to school was a major undertaking for the father of two young sons. However, he highly recommends the experience. “In just one year, you can gain the skills needed for a serious career in a high-growth industry,” he says. “You’ll earn a good salary without taking on the debt you would get at a four-year college.”
From NBA to FVTC
Only three out of every 10,000 high school seniors playing interscholastic basketball will eventually be drafted by a team in the National Basketball Association (NBA). According to Jonathan Patton, however, a bleak-looking statistic like this should not squelch any dreams.
“When you have a passion, you have to go for it,” he states. “However, you also have to bring balance into your life. I knew basketball wasn’t going to last forever. When it was time to put the basketball down and get serious about a different career, I had another plan ready to go.”
That alternate plan for Patton was Fox Valley Technical College’s Package & Label Printing program. “There is a bulletin board full of full-time, good-paying careers in this field posted in one of Fox Valley Tech’s classrooms,” says Patton. “The time is now to make the most of this opportunity.”
100% of FVTC’s Package & Label Printing grads landed careers within six months of graduation over the past two years. (FVTC Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2012 & 2013)
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