Cassie Doggett, back row, far left, is pictured with her husband, Drew Persinger, and their children, front row, from left, Bodhi, Harlyn, Arya and Wyatt, and Olivia, back row.
Cassie Doggett used online professional training to take her career to a new level, securing a position she loves at a law firm and opening a bakery business.
“There is no time limit and no finish line for education. You keep moving.”
Those are Doggett’s words on the matter, and she has the credentials to back it up. In her professional life for the past 13 years she has combined online vocational training with a traditional university degree and shown how one can achieve more with vocational training.
Doggett, who lives in Bryant, central Arkansas, recently completed online training in the Certified Management Specialist program offered by the U of A’s Global Campus Professional and Manpower Training Division. The Global Campus received a 2020 federal grant to fund online vocational training for Arkansans who, like Doggett, qualify through the Reimagine the Arkansas Workforce Project. People who live in neighboring states and work in Arkansas can also apply for the free training. Reimagine’s funds are limited to one course offered as part of Professional and Workforce Training. Other Funding Sources may be available for people interested in additional courses.
Doggett will soon take on the position of office manager at a Little Rock law firm, and she also runs a bakery selling cakes, tarts, cookies and bread from her home. The commercial vocational training helps her to be successful in both roles.
“If I had the opportunity, I would encourage other people to take one or more classes,” Doggett said. “Educating yourself, improving yourself will never hurt, whether it’s for your own company or for a company you work for.”
Online job training
It’s not the first time Doggett has used it Online Vocational Training to advance their career. She was working as a receptionist for a law firm when she decided to make one Paralegal certification by the U of A in 2014. She worked her way up to a hybrid position, combining administrative and human resources roles, before joining a firm specializing in mediation and arbitration last fall.
She had earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Henderson State University in 2009, but over time she realized how an online professional education could improve her prospects. She was always busy and held two jobs while she was in college, but getting into online education was the best fit for her life. She quickly learned to use the time available to her while raising her blended family of five with husband Drew. She is excited to be able to demonstrate to them the value she places on being an adult learner.
“I would not have been able to complete the paralegal and administrative training course if I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend classes online,” Doggett said. “I got up early and worked out and then pulled out my laptop and sat on the couch to work while the kids got ready. As I sat at the table with them, they thought it was cool that I did my homework like them. At first they thought it was a “kid thing” and I told them no, it’s real!
“I was able to fit it into empty spaces I had during the day rather than reserving hours in a day or in a week and the time and focus that would be required for face-to-face instruction. In fact, it fitted very well into my schedules with the kids and their after-school activities.”
The law and the kitchen
The administrative professional training course Doggett completed through Reimagine includes a voucher for taking the exam offered for certification by the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
She wants to take the exam in the fall.
“I took this course to understand assignments and continue working on them efficiently,” she said. “The book that accompanied the course was very helpful. There were scenarios of how to have person-to-person conversations. Instead of just being confronted with questions, it went a step further to help you focus on current situations, tasks, projects.”
What she has learned about business processes such as budgets, schedules and communication also helps her in running the in-house bakery, which she founded in June 2021. She electronically records all notes of transactions with suppliers and customers and has implemented a customer feedback process.
Doggett started her bakery during the pandemic because she thought people working from home might want to order baked goodies. Her customers are mostly folks in Bryant, but she also ships to Little Rock where she works. The owner of a nail salon orders his favorite strawberry cake every week.
She also loves the law and works to ensure that all parties in a mediation or arbitration have the information they need and are aware of their options.
“It’s all about justice and how it’s served,” she said. “There is a process behind this and if people do not receive information in a timely and confidential manner, it is an injustice. I can’t give legal advice, but I can make sure people know which ways to go.”
Visit the Rethink the website to see if you are eligible for funding to pay for online vocational training.