After serving his country in both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, Lee College student-veteran Kenneth Kossie returned to civilian life ready to make a living in information technology - until the economy took a downward turn and he found himself back on the hunt for a job.
"That's when I decided to make a career change," said Kossie, a Katy resident who researched Houston-area colleges and later enrolled in the instrumentation program at Lee with his eyes on a position in the petrochemical industry. "When I got here, I knew I had made the right decision."
Kossie and Lee safety management student Jessie Bouley were each awarded a $2,000 scholarship from Grainger, a local distributor of facilities maintenance supplies, to help support their college education. The company launched its Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program to promote the innovation and importance of careers in the industrial skilled trades.
Both Kossie and Boulet have received guidance and assistance along the way from the Lee College Veterans Center, which offers a wide variety of services for student-veterans and their dependents, including academic advising, certification and advising for veterans' benefits and moral and mental health support.
"I'm grateful that the center and its staff have been instrumental in my journey at Lee College," said Kossie, who used his Grainger scholarship money to purchase textbooks and a much-needed new laptop to study, practice and complete class assignments at home. "It's an excellent environment. They were there to answer questions - and trust me, I bombarded them with a lot of questions."
Even after finishing his degree, Kossie plans to continue taking follow-up courses in logistics and AutoCAD to strengthen his skills.
"Overall, I'm very much pleased with what Lee College has afforded me," he said. "This is probably the closest thing to what you're going to see out in the real world, so that paid big dividends. I got a chance to get hands-on, both in the lab environment and in the real-world environment."
Lee College student-veterans awarded scholarships to pursue skilled trades