David LaFata learned at a young age that you finish what you start. So, it's no surprise that he's going to earn an associate degree from Lakeshore Technical College and a bachelor's degree from Lakeland University in less than four years.
LaFata took advantage of the Lake to Lake guaranteed transfer program, a student-centered partnership between LTC and Lakeland.
LTC students can learn more about Lake to Lake at an open house on Monday, March 4, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in LTC's Foundation Conference Room.
Lake to Lake offers LTC graduates the perfect pathway to earn a Lakeland bachelor's degree:
- 28 LTC associate degree programs feed into 25 Lakeland bachelor's degree programs.
- Graduates of these LTC programs are guaranteed admission to Lakeland as juniors.
- Students will get individualized advising and career development support from LTC and Lakeland.
A Michigan native, LaFata entered the Coast Guard out of high school, and retired after a decade of service. He'd met his wife in the Coast Guard, and the couple had settled in Sheboygan Falls as he was stationed in Door County and she was in Milwaukee.
After leaving the military, he took a job as a steam fitter apprentice for a year, but was motivated to go to school and explored degree programs in computers and business.
He heard about Lake to Lake, did some research and enrolled at LTC in 2016. He graduated from LTC with an associate degree in information technology (IT) network specialist, entered Lakeland as a junior and is on track to complete a bachelor's in business administration with a management emphasis this December.
"My parents instilled in me that when you start something you complete it," said LaFata, who works for Beacon Organizational Consulting, a Manitowoc-based firm that provides resource development services to non-profits.
"At LTC and Lakeland, my classes have been small and there's been a lot of one-on-one which is a great atmosphere. Any time you needed help or had an issue, there was always an avenue to take."
The LaFatas have three young children, so time is precious. At Lakeland, LaFata enjoys the BlendEd LIVE class delivery format which allows him to watch recorded class lectures on his time, often between a morning workout and leaving for work.
"I love how it's at my own pace," he said. "There's a lot of coursework to learn, but you have that time to manage it. If there's something I don't understand, I email the instructor and they always get back to me. There is always someone there to answer your questions."
Post-graduation, LaFata plans to get a master's degree, and one day aims to own his own business or serve as a company CEO. He's confident he has the skills needed to succeed in today's environment thanks to his LTC and Lakeland coursework.
"After I graduated from LTC, I tutored there for a year because I wanted to give back," LaFata said. "It was such a great experience to help students who were struggling. Going back to school is about time management, and these programs help you do that."