Bette working hard at a job site.

Bette Feldeisen

Bette Feldeisen had always been mechanically inclined and began her working life as a printer. However, with the onset of technology automating the industry, she soon realized that she would need to find a more stable career path. After being introduced to the plumbing trade, Bette found an apprenticeship and switched occupations. Upon completing her five-year apprenticeship, Bette entered the field in a job where she was earning good money. Work was steady in plumbing for many years until she was laid off during the economic recession of 2008.

Out of work, Bette remembered seeing a poster for NJ PLACE in her union hall which would provide her with college credits for her apprenticeship.  After working with NJ PLACE she found out that she was also eligible for an unemployment tuition waiver through New Jersey’s One Stop Career Centers. “Going back to school gave me a new purpose and allowed me to focus on something more productive than just the fact that I was unemployed” Bette recalls.

With transfer credits from her apprenticeship as well as some credits from courses she’d taken at Atlantic Cape Community College years earlier, Bette enrolled at Gloucester County College. “I finally found a college that worked well for me,” she said, “Although I was unemployed at the time, I was able to take all of my classes at night in case I returned to work.” After a lot of hard work, Bette graduated with honors receiving an Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies in December 2010.

Since graduating, Bette has utilized her degree by transitioning into a supervisory position working for the State of New Jersey. “Going back to school gave me more balance,” she says.  “I always had the technical and mechanical skills, but now I also have the knowledge and skills I learned while in school.” Although she is now working full-time, Bette plans to return to school and earn her Bachelor’s degree. As for her experience with NJ PLACE, Bette says, “I really enjoyed the program and am grateful for the help in returning to school because getting my degree has helped me to see things in a whole new light.”

Bette has been recognized an an ACE Adult Learner of the Year. Read more.