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Vernon man proves it’s never too late to go back to college

After a 40-year career, Keith Schmaltz furthered his education with Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department
After a nearly 40-year career in the heavy-duty equipment industry, Vernon resident Keith Schmaltz furthered his education with Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department. (Submitted photo)

Vernon resident Keith Schmaltz spent most of his career working in the heavy-duty equipment industry, but after nearly 40 years on the job, he decided he wanted to pick up some new skills.

Hoping to continue his career in a related field, Schmaltz got involved with Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies department, which offers programs and courses to suit all kinds of different learning needs.

Schmaltz enrolled in the Professional Industry Driver program offered by Okanagan College in collaboration with Taylor Pro Training and the BC Forest Safety Council.

The program is funded by the federal government and the province’s Project Based Labour Market Training initiative. It has allowed many participants including Schmaltz to find continuous and stable employment opportunities.

“This program has been a dream come true,” said Schmaltz. “This is going to give me the opportunity to stay in the industry with continuous employment. The course provided me with the fundamental training I required and the ability to succeed in my endeavors to obtain a Class 1 license.”

Many other programs are offered in the Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department at the college, which offers part-time programs that help people develop the skills they need for their career. These include courses where students can earn certificates as well as many general interest courses.

The certificate and course offerings are detailed in the Continuing Studies Winter/Spring brochure, which is now available in communities around the Okanagan and Shuswap and is online for people to view course selections.

“We are continually working to provide training opportunities that are tailored to improving people’s skills and enhancing their careers and lives,” said Danelle Greebe, director of continuing studies and corporate training at Okanagan College.

“Our goal is to transform people’s lives and no matter the age or situation you find yourself in, we have a program that can help you. This could be either with your current career or if you are looking to pivot and move in a new direction and need new skills.”

The department partners with industry, communities and government to provide training in areas and communities where there is a demand.

For Schmaltz, signing up for the program was one of the best decisions he’s made in his life.

“Thanks to Okanagan College and Taylor Pro Driving School for training me to become a professional driver,” he said.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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