“I would certainly not be where I am today without Moraine Valley,” says Debbie Skelly, a recent graduate of the Meeting Planner Program. Debbie, of Palos Heights, was going through a divorce when a friend suggested she check out the program because she knew Debbie had been involved in planning many events over the years as a volunteer in numerous organizations.

“I was always the president of this or chairperson of that, but I hadn’t really held a professional position since before I had my kids,” she says.

After talking to the program coordinator, Debbie signed up for her first classes.

“I wasn’t even sure if I was marketable at my age, but I decided to give it a try,” she Debbie, who quickly discovered she loved school and felt very comfortable despite her age. “There were other adults in all my classes. The instructors were so welcoming, and I felt respect from all the students, too. And, as scared as I was about starting college, I had every resource available to help me succeed.”

Debbie gained practical experience in the program by serving an internship as a wedding planner and working at a national conference in Washington, D.C., which was attended by members of Congress and other dignitaries from around the world.

“I wouldn’t have had those opportunities if not for Moraine Valley,” she says.

Debbie says the Meeting Planner Program prepared her exceptionally well for her current position as a banquet manager at a municipal golf course, where she handles everything from meeting with clients to ordering food to managing budgets to overseeing staff.

“I’ve applied everything I learned while pursuing my certificate in what I’m doing today. I don’t believe I would have gotten this job without the certificate—it gave me credibility,” she says.