Marc at his Ocean County College graduation.

Marc Skobbeko

After high school, Marc Skobbeko felt that his future path was set. "I joined the IBEW Local 164 to become a Telecommunications Installer Technician in response to the rapid growth in the telecommunication industry," Marc recalled, "and shortly after I found a good job earning a nice paycheck and had little desire to enroll in college."  But after working for several years, Marc felt he’d reached a point in his life where he could enroll in college and really take advantage of all that a degree could offer.

While enrolled at Ocean County College Marc heard about NJ PLACE and was intrigued at the opportunity to gain college credit for his professional training. “I was like a sponge soaking up knowledge. For the first time I felt like I could apply my work experience to the things I was learning in my college classrooms,” Marc shared.  In May 2010, Marc received an Associate of Applied Sciences in Technical Studies from Ocean County College with Magna Cum Laude honors. He also graduated as a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

Marc is now enrolled in Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations where he continues to thrive in his studies, earning Dean’s list each semester. He is majoring in Labor and Employment Relations and is expecting to complete his Bachelor of Science degree in December 2012. But this may not be the end of the story for Marc. After graduation, he’s considering continuing at Rutgers to earn his Master’s degree in Labor and Employment Relations. He is also hopeful that his elevated level of education will assist him in transitioning into a management position in an industry where the culture emphasizes teamwork.

Marc says that NJ PLACE gave him the opportunity to apply himself to his studies, “I take pride in my education and appreciate the opportunity that NJ PLACE gave me to pursue my degree.” With college credits transferring from his apprenticeship, the “finish line” was that much closer and, as a result, he found that he really enjoyed college. His work schedule also helped him balance school and work obligations. Not only did he use his lunch breaks to study, but getting off work around 3pm let him devote his evenings and weekends to schoolwork too. Marc frequently recommends NJ PLACE to friends and coworkers. “I let them know that getting credit for the work you’ve already done in your apprenticeship is a real incentive to finishing a college degree,” Marc said.