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The Backbone of any Business: Administrative Professional

The Backbone of any Business: Administrative Professional

Fall 2013

Careers in the administrative professional field are not only in demand, they are also the backbone of any business.

A ‘dream job’ is how 25-year-old Molly Willis describes her work at Bergstrom Automotive, Wisconsin’s largest automotive dealership. The 2013 graduate of Fox Valley Technical College’s Administrative Professional (AP) program loves her career because there are never two days that are alike.

“I report directly to the CEO, John Bergstrom,” the Brookfield native explains. “As an executive assistant, I’m in charge of scheduling and ensuring that we communicate clearly to everyone. With 27 dealerships and 34 manufacturers, that can get crazy busy. But I love it!”

Willis began at Bergstrom in Oshkosh three years ago as a dealership receptionist. “Once there, I noticed an opening for an administrative position and decided I wanted that job,” she recalls. “That’s when I enrolled in the AP program at Fox Valley Technical College.”

Initially, Willis was apprehensive about returning to school. “I left UW-Oshkosh because I just wasn’t getting anywhere,” she states. “Fox Valley Tech, however, was a totally different experience. The instructors were incredibly supportive and encouraging. They made me believe that I could do it.”


Willis began advancing in her career almost immediately upon enrolling in the program. She was first promoted to an administrative position in an Appleton dealership and then to her current job in the company’s Neenah headquarters. “I could immediately apply what I learned in each class to improve what I was doing at work,” she says. “I didn’t need any extra training from the company. Fox Valley Tech definitely helped me get where I am today.”

In addition to the supportive instructors, Willis appreciated FVTC’s small class sizes and hands-on approach to learning. “My favorite class was the Capstone,” she said. “It made me apply everything I learned to a real-world environment.”

Willis believes there are many opportunities for AP graduates. “You’ll find us in every industry,” she says. “We’re the backbone of any business—behind the scenes handling the details it takes for a company to succeed and supporting those who keep the business moving each day.”

An AP degree from FVTC provides an outstanding return on investment. FVTC’s 2010 and 2011 AP graduates all landed careers in the field, and the program’s three-year placement rate is above 95%.

“With companies trying to operate more efficiently, administrative professionals have become vital to the success of every organization,” states Scott Borley, associate dean of Business, Health and Services at FVTC. “Graduates of our program are responsible for managing technology upgrades, software training, planning professional events or meetings, preparing documents, and helping manage key relationships with clients and vendors. The opportunities are almost endless.”

Willis plans on keeping her dream job while continuing her education. “I want to earn my bachelor’s degree,” she states. “Fox Valley Technical College gave me the capabilities and the confidence to continue to succeed!”

Quick Facts:

  • Data from 2012 cited more than 950 career postings for administrative professionals throughout northeast Wisconsin, according to TechConnect, a statewide online employment information system for recruiting Wisconsin Technical College System students and graduates.

  • 95%+ graduate employment for FVTC’s AP grads over the past three years.

  • 50% of these same graduates are promoted within the first 5 years of their career.

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