Jason Fagan Passion for People Leads to Success
Jason Fagan knew two things; he wanted to help people and he wanted to stay local. Both of these goals were a factor in choosing to attend Marion Technical College.
After a short stint as an Education major at Ohio State, Jason enrolled at Marion Technical College. He started out completing the MTC Law Enforcement Academy and became a Deputy Sheriff in Marion County. He quickly realized that it wasn’t for him. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for law enforcement officers, but the profession wasn’t a good fit for me.” He felt that there had to be a way to be more impactful with the clientele he was facing in the law enforcement business.
“I really didn’t know that I wanted to go into human and social services (HSS). I always looked at it as a ‘bleeding heart’ profession,” Jason admits of his misconception. “After speaking with Lillie Kirsch (HSS program director at MTC), I thought it sounded like a good fit. I took my first class and realized that it was EXACTLY what I wanted to do with my career,” he adds.
He was very excited to realize that several courses from Ohio State and his previous time at MTC transferred into the Human and Social Services program which would save him time and money. At this stage in his life, Jason was not only going to school and working – he was also married (Hannah) and raising two daughters (Samantha and Jenna). That’s a pretty heavy load, but not one that is foreign to MTC students.
He applied and was hired for a part-time contract position working with at-risk youth through the Workforce Investment Act at Job and Family Services (JFS) in Wyandot County. He loved it, but being a contracted position, he was not sure how long it would last. The program was successful and so was Jason. So much so that Job and Family Services hired him as a Unit Support Worker in their Workforce Development department.
Quickly, they recognized that Jason was a key player and promoted him to Supervisor of Workforce Development at JFS. Jason finished up his degree at Marion Technical College in Human and Social Services, but he knew that he needed to continue his education to keep his current position. “When I was offered the position of supervisor, I had an agreement with Tom Bennett (former JFS Director) that I would get a bachelor’s degree.”
“I enrolled at Capital University based on the recommendation of Lillie Kirsch and Tom Bennett,” he said. “It was very intense. I went to campus one or two nights a week in Columbus, and did a lot of out of classroom assignments in between.” Jason persevered and graduated from Capital University with a Bachelor of Social Work. One week later, he was offered another promotion – Assistant Director of JFS.
His career and educational climb continued as he enrolled in the master’s program at Case Western. “I knew there was opportunity for growth at JFS and having my master’s would give me an edge against other candidates for the job,” he recalls. “I also knew that I was interested in possibly teaching and a master’s is required to do so. I guess the desire to teach never left, and now I have the best of both worlds. I’m a social worker by day, and teacher (MTC adjunct faculty) by night.”
“I thought that the Capital program was intense – and it was - but the Case Western program definitely pushed me,” he recalls. “It was a two year, one weekend every month program. With a wife and children, it was very hard. My family was incredibly supportive. They would drive to Cleveland with me and we’d stay in a hotel for the weekend. Knowing they were there after a long day of class made it worth it. I’m not sure I could’ve done it without their support.”
Jason, of course, graduated with his masters of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) from Case, with a concentration on children, youth, and families. And, of course, Jason earned another promotion at JFS as the Director.
This type of climb in an organization does not happen by accident. Jason has worked very hard on both his educational and employment career and it has paid off! He gives credit to Marion Technical College. “I can’t say enough about the level of education I received at Marion Technical College. The hands-on foundation of learning that I received really taught me the core of what I use today,” he said. “The bachelor and master degrees serve as a great extension teaching more of the theory and research behind the field of human and social services,” he added.
“Graduates with an MTC degree get noticed. I’ve hired two because I know they have the skill set needed to dive right in and contribute.”
Jason has taken a page out of the MTC playbook. “I love the inviting, family atmosphere at MTC. My first goal as the Director of JFS of Wyandot County is to create an environment that is inviting for our clients. By the time they have reached our doorstep – they have been kicked enough, so they aren’t going to get kicked here! Before most clients reach out to professionals, they’ve already exhausted their personal helping network and may be feeling down and out, so I want to make sure they are met with an empathetic attitude and a smile,” he said. “I know there is sometimes a negative perception of Job & Family Services. My goal is to change that!”
As you can see, Jason accomplishes things. We have no doubts he will not only accomplish his first goal at the JFS, but several others!
To learn more about a degree in Human and Social Services at Marion Technical College, visit www.mtc.edu/publicservice.