Professional Certification Inspires Infinite Possibilities
Governors State University alum Trevor Hoskins started as an electrical apprentice – a period which he calls “three months in the dark.” That is both a literal and figurative statement, as Hoskins recalls feeling “out of my element.” Electrical currents were not his thing. A prayer asking God for a way out led to a surprise call from a cousin in NW Indiana. “Do you want to work at Ford,” she asked. He had his way out of the dark and started as a line worker at a Ford plant in Illinois.
When talking to a co-worker on the line, Hoskins shared his desire to go to college at Chicago State University. “You should check out Governors State University (GSU); it’s more affordable for what you get,” the friend said. After looking at GSU’s curriculum and the requirements for the job he wanted as a Production Supervisor at Ford, he enrolled in GSU’s Interdisciplinary Studies program (IDSS) in May 2016. He already had an associate degree from Oakland Community College in Michigan, where he studied finance. Through transfer and prior learning assessment credits, he was able to graduate in December 2016 (in only 2 semesters!).
It was not an easy road, but a great mentor helped. Hoskins met College of Business professor Tricia Kerns in class. She then encouraged him to enroll at the School of Extended Learning (SXL) in a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB) certification program to help him learn specific quality control skills needed for his work at Ford. It was not unusual for Dr. Kerns to find him in coveralls sleeping outside the classroom door after a shift. Hoskins was dedicated and not going to let personal obstacles keep him from his career goals. And it worked. After his certification completion, Hoskins was able to produce record production numbers and show substantial improvement in the constraint of his department during the biggest launch in the history of Ford Motor Company.
“Green Belts make $10,000 more than people who don’t have the certification. Aside from the money, you get used to the vernacular you hear every day at work. You get comfortable with it. Lean Six Sigma forces you to touch the problem. Then you look at the processes and how they affect people,” Hoskins shared.
Kerns found Hoskins to be a “great student, and hardworking. I just knew he was going to be a success.” When Hoskins heard Kerns “kind and big words,” he shared a few thoughts of his own. “I appreciate Dr. Kerns way of always helping me on my journey. She is a woman of value who has always told me the right things. I have always been transparent with her on how I have handled things at work. She’s like my business psychiatrist.”
Trevor Hoskins continues his professional journey. Trevor just began his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification training and is planning on enrolling at GSU for his Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, with a concentration in Leadership. When asked why he chose to tackle both, he said, “The Black Belt is to develop a new skill –to analyze data in a more professional way— which will give me yet another tool to be more accessible to other departments.”
The MBA was something Kerns predicted, saying “I’m letting you know you’re going to have to come back.” Hoskins says it will “allow him to see new views and perspectives. Education is infinite.”