When the PACE Director visited his job site and talked about the PACE program, Travis Jones of Decatur started researching to see if the program would be right for him. Following high school, Travis had studied for a year at MacMurray College, then transferred to a community college in Michigan, and later back to Richland Community College before taking a long hiatus from his education. For the past ten years, Travis has worked for the State of Illinois where he spent six years as a Correctional Counselor for the Department of Corrections. Nearing the completion of his Organizational Leadership degree, with budget cuts impacting the State, Travis' pending diploma allowed him to move into the position of Human Resource Representative where he now supports 4-5 agencies.
Travis came to Millikin as a student of several other educational institutions. After a long hiatus from school a presentation at his employer by the PACE program sparked his interest. He finished his degree with honors in Spring 2012.
After over ten years with the State and six as a Correctional Counselor for the Department of Corrections Travis used his degree to secure another State position in the field he loves. He now works for the State as a Human Resource Representative. His primary responsibilities are in the areas of Benefits and Group Insurance for 4-5 State Agencies.
He admits that the closures at the State due to the budget crisis in Illinois prompted him to make the career change. He owed two years to the agency for helping support his education, so he had not considered moving on prior to completion of that obligation.
Yet, when he was offered the job in January 2013 he saw it as a blessing in disguise. Although Benefits and Group Insurance is not the area of Human Resources he had planned to pursue, once he got his foot in the door he recognized the potential to build the career he desires using the contacts he has made. Travis plans to stay with the State, but gradually move into Human Resources Hiring and Training functions.
He commented that the State has recognized the need for individuals with the Organizational Leadership type degree. The State is seeking persons with experience and understanding in leadership, organizational behavior and employee retention. Departments such as Human Services and DCFS are looking for these skills to help them address issues in their departments. Travis believes his Millikin degree has positioned him well to meet their needs.
During his time at Millikin, Travis met his wife. Kandace Turner-Jones was a member of his cohort and they hit it off from the very beginning. The two married shortly before graduation. Travis says that Kandace was the most unexpected, but greatest benefit, the program provided!
The couple split their commute each day. Travis leaves Decatur for Springfield as Kandace heads for Champaign. Besides one another, they share a love and commitment to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Macon County. They all four spend time together through their Big Family, enriching the lives of local youth.
Travis made a point of saying that he and Kandace used the skills learned in the final few OL courses, especially project management, to manage their recently completed and successful 2nd annual Havana Night Fund Raiser for the organization. It would be terrific to see broad Millikin participation in their 3rd annual event!