Industrial Electricity student changing his life through education

Graduating with an associate degree from Gillette College in Industrial Electricity changed the trajectory of Charlie Chamblee’s life. Now an Electrical and Instrumentation Technician for Kinder-Morgan, Chamblee earned his degree through an intensive cooperative program offered when he worked as a plant technician at a local mine.

Because of his degree from Gillette College, Chamblee is now earning more than twice what he did before.

“It completely changed my life. I was working long hours for literally less than half of what I’m earning now,” Chamblee said. “I would have been stuck barely getting by.”

He says the education he received at Gillette College was top notch and industry-specific.

“Our instructors did a great job teaching us how to think logically and gain a deep understanding of how electrical systems work,” he said. “They challenged us with hands-on projects that integrated different concepts together.”

According to Chamblee, the training he received at Gillette College emphasized safety, which is very important to Kinder-Morgan, and prepared him extremely well for his job.

“There is such a strong need in this area for careers you can start with a two-year degree,” he said. “You don’t have to go to a four-year university. There are a lot of people with two-year degrees making over $100,000.”

Chamblee now serves as an advisory board member for the Industrial Electricity program at Gillette College. He says Gillette College brings incredible value to the communities in which it serves and wants prospective students to look at the market before they decide on a degree.

“It’s affordable and gives, especially people who live here, a way to increase their standard of living,” he said. “Higher incomes lead to a more prosperous community at every level.”

Chamblee is excited to start his applied bachelor’s degree at Gillette College when it becomes available.