A Park View, Iowa, woman is crafting a new career by going back to school.
She's getting help reinventing herself with a new online tool at Scott Community College.
The Kahl Educational Center is a welcoming sight for a fresh start in Davenport.
"The career assessment is kind of fun to take," said Lori Walljasper, who chairs the EICC Information Technology Department.
Single mom Verlee Washington is going back to school for the first time in 20 years.
She studies Information Technology at Scott Community College.
"Now, I'm doing this for myself," she said. "It's something I want to do. I've always been interested in computers and IT."
Verlee is now into her second year and plans to graduate in May 2017.
"Verlee is one of our prize students," Walljasper said.
She blends classroom time with online studies, and she works two part-time jobs to support herself.
The non-traditional student often finds herself with classmates half her age.
"Some of the younger students address me as 'Miss,'" she said. "But we're on the same page. We're all in IT. We all work together."
The Career Coach online tool is helping her to assess skills and find a job.
"I see her using the tool right now to see what employment is out there," Walljasper said.
A federal grant is paying for the $15-million project.
It's like having a career center on the computer.
"I like it because it's a career path," Walljasper said. "I can decide what education I need. I can look at what jobs are available."
By signing a "Commit to Completion" banner on display, Verlee Washington is inspiring others while motivating herself to achieve.
"I'm starting fresh now, getting everything right away," she said. "That way, when I do graduate, I have it all ready."
"It's such a great thing to invest in yourself," Walljasper said. "School will do that for you."
Going back to school with a tool for success, Verlee Washington is on her way.
"Once I graduate and get a job in that field, that will be my reward," she concluded. "That's what I want."
To access the Career Coach free online tool:
http://www.eicc.edu and click on the Career Coach link at the bottom of the page.
A direct link is at: http://www.eicc.edu/careercoach.