As a squad leader in the Army Infantry, Charles Robel took his responsibility very seriously. When he saw his men were suffering from lack of sleep while guarding detainees, he built a better detention center to help solve the problem. That project required him to learn welding, something he enjoyed.
After seven years in the military, Charles was discharged. His first civilian job was managing a gas station and convenience store. Charles turned the business around and increased profits for his employer.
He wanted to be his own boss so Charles started a landscaping and general contracting firm with a partner. Unfortunately, the business failed. He found himself delivering furniture for $10 per hour--not enough to support his family.
Injuries he suffered while in the Army led to surgery and recovery. During that time, Charles’ wife suggested he consider getting more education so he could have a career instead of bouncing from job to job. He visited Waukesha Technical College intending to pursue welding training. However, that program didn’t start until fall.
Charles enrolled in the Machine Tool Operation technical diploma program. He thrived in the hands-on training and enjoyed learning from instructors with real world experience.
“I really excelled in this program and found out I could also get a Tool and Die Making diploma at the same time,” Charles explained. “I approached everything like it was a mission.”
After a referral from one of his instructors, Charles got a job at Prototype Stampings in New Berlin. Six months later he started an apprenticeship program learning from a journeyman. His goal is to become the lead journeyman.
In his address to the WCTC commencement audience Charles said: “Graduating from college lets me serve myself, my family and my community.”