STLCC Enabled Gunn to Find the Right Fit for New Career
More than 350 veterans of the U.S. armed forces chose to attend St. Louis Community College this year, and our College is proud to support them in every step of their educational journey. We know they sacrificed to serve our nation and we want to provide every opportunity for them to succeed in whatever they pursue. As we celebrate Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, STLCC is highlighting veterans who attend classes on our four main campuses. A new story will appear Monday-Thursday, leading up to the holiday.
We encourage you to read these stories for details and we ask that you please join us in thanking our veterans for their service.
The Army ROTC paid for veteran Will Gunn to attend college at Washington University in St. Louis and paved the way to a career in education.
He worked as an admissions officer at WUSTL, college counselor at De Smet Jesuit High School and social studies teacher for Saint Louis Public Schools.
Gunn joined the military as a freshman at WUSTL in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
“I figured that military service might present a chance for adventure and to serve our country. I got to do a lot of interesting and exciting things,” Gunn said. “I jumped out of planes, traveled the world, went to war twice, participated in humanitarian assistance, was a VIP escort, participated in psychological operations, and direct- and indirect- fire firefights.”
When his interest in the education field waned, Gunn turned to St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley to help determine a new career path.
“I picked precision machining technology because I've always been mechanically inclined and it seemed like a field that offered interesting work and a lot of job opportunities,” Gunn said. “I didn't have any experience with machine tools when I started, but the program made learning them easy and fun, and I was able to get a great job that I love thanks to what I learned.”
After Gunn earned a PMT certificate in May 2022, he said securing a job was very easy.
“I had half a dozen offers after two weeks of interviewing and was able to pick the company I most wanted to work for,” said Gunn, now a machinist for Sunnen Products Company.
He has no regrets about trusting his training to the College.
“I've undertaken several programs of study – a bachelor's degree at WUSTL, several military schools and many online certifications. The PMT program at STLCC was far and away the best, especially in terms of how much useful knowledge I picked up in such a relatively short period of time. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in the field or just in learning more about shop work in general.”
Gunn said it would be extremely difficult to find a better value than STLCC.
“Degrees at four-year universities cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do yourself a favor and take all the coursework you possibly can at STLCC, even if your goal is to move on to a four-year degree elsewhere,” he said. “Education is massively, disproportionately inflated in price compared to most consumer goods and services, even now. That's not the case here. The value is incredible.”
Carl Fischer, associate professor in the Advanced Manufacturing Center at Florissant Valley, taught several of Gunn’s classes. He was not surprised Gunn quickly found a job.
“I would tell other veterans to come check us out,” Fischer said. “This field is in high demand. It’s interesting work. It’s a good choice for people who aren’t interested in sitting behind a desk all day. This field does have physical requirements but, unlike some other fields in the trades, it’s something you can make a career out of and continue to do until retirement.”
After students complete the PMT program, they can take it further by applying the 17 credit hours toward the associate degree programs in engineering technology, computer integrated manufacturing or skilled trades.
To start the enrollment process, visit the Apply to STLCC page.