LTC honors graduates during series of commencement events




Lakeshore Technical College concluded three separate graduation ceremonies this week with a College ceremony, a GED/HSED ceremony and finally an Apprenticeship Banquet. More than 450 graduates were recognized at the College commencement, with 42 GED/HSED graduates honored and 30 Apprenticeship graduates.

Graduate Starr Gerk of Sheboygan highlighted the event series by being uniquely qualified to address both the College and GED/HSED graduates. For 15 years, Gerk worked for Thomas Industries in Sheboygan until Thomas moved out of state, leaving Gerk a displaced worker and without a high school diploma.

Gerk raised three daughters and made sure they all graduated from college. In turn, her daughters encouraged her to enroll at LTC and complete her high school education. In less than a year, she earned her GED with high honors.

"I knew I could do it," said Gerk. "My daughters then convinced me I should take part in the graduation ceremony even though I wasn't sure. But walking across that stage, knowing what I had accomplished and holding that medal, was a truly powerful feeling. I decided right then and there to continue my schooling and find a new career."

Just three years later, Gerk graduated with technical diplomas in the LTC Medical Coding program and in the Office Assistant program both with high honors. At both ceremonies, Gerk offered a message of encouragement and to embrace their next challenges just as they had at LTC. In attendance was State Representative Mike Endsley who, like Gerk, was displaced by the Thomas move in 2009.

"Starr helped make the parts and I helped sell them," said Endsley."To see her succeed like this is truly inspiring and I am privileged to have been here to see it."

Also participating in the college graduation ceremony was Dr. Ashok Rai, President and CEO of Prevea Health. Dr. Rai offered his insight on being successful to graduates in five simple lessons.

Completing the graduation series was the apprenticeship banquet at Millhome in Kiel. The Apprenticeship completers were recognized by keynote speaker Reggie Newson, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Newson relayed his own personal experience as his mother works as a machinist and his father as a welder.

The banquet recognized the completion of the paid-related classroom instruction for individuals in LTC's apprenticeship programs. In these programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC's registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.

With 87% of graduates traditionally remaining in the Lakeshore area to live and work, the nearly 550 graduates from these LTC programs will enrich their local communities with the skills and values learned during their time at LTC.

Reggie Newson, Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development for the state of Wisconsin, addresses apprenticeship graduates at Millhome Supper Club in Kiel.
Reggie Newson, Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development for the state of Wisconsin, addresses apprenticeship graduates at Millhome Supper Club in Kiel.


About Lakeshore Technical College

Each year more than 10,000 people enroll in courses at Lakeshore Technical College. They rely on LTC for job preparation, to earn a degree, upgrade a specialized skill, train as an apprentice, or seek a high school equivalency. LTC faculty and staff meet students where they are in life and help them get one step closer to achieving their goals.

LTC is a nationally recognized technical college. The college was ranked the #2 two-year college in the nation for adult learners by Washington Monthly, the #17 trade school in the nation by Forbes, #11 in the nation for two-year college educational outcomes by, a top-150 two-year college for the fifth consecutive time by the Aspen Institute, and a top 10 Bellwether Award finalist.

Approximately 800 students graduate from LTC each year, and LTC’s associate degree graduates earn a median salary of $47,800* per year. In addition to the Cleveland campus, LTC serves students in Manitowoc and Sheboygan, and offers classes at additional sites throughout the district. Visit LTC at

*Source: 2019 LTC Graduate Outcomes report, 795 graduates contacted to complete the survey; 508 graduates or 64% completed the survey.