When Melissa Morris Hershner attended the Warren County Career Center, typewriters were commonly used in offices and computers were relegated to special labs for occasional use. She completed the Data Processing program in 1986, graduated from Franklin High School, and took a job teaching typing at a trade school in Middletown. Over the next several years, she adapted to new technology and saw the business world change to computerized communications and operations. She credits her instructors, Denny Thayer and Christie Leis, with teaching her not just how to type and do office work, but how to be a professional and succeed.
“At the career center, we had to dress for our profession and we practiced with mock job interviews,” she said. “I learned a lot from the career center and my instructors. I taught those skills to my students in the typing class. I was 19 years old, and my students were older than me, but I was teaching them about being a professional.”
In 1988, Melissa took a job in banking as a teller and worked her way up to her current position as a banking center manager at First Financial Bank in Lebanon. “I worked my way up, and it was a long haul, but I enjoyed what I did,” she said. “I always wanted to learn more and in banking there are no limits. Data processing became obsolete, so you move as everything else is moving, and I took all that with me and applied in different ways. I didn’t want to just be a teller the rest of my life. The career center helped me with that; you have to be responsible, be on time, dress for your position. You have to have communication skills, and know how to write and spell.”
She volunteers to teach a five-week finance class for Junior Achievement at Lebanon High School. She tells the students about her life experiences, and how glad she is that she chose to attend WCCC. “I tell them that I knew the career center would help me, because I could get training and go to work in the business field,” she said. “I knew my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college, and I knew I had to find another way to gain workplace skills. Looking back at my 26 years in banking, I think I did OK.”
Melissa lives in Lebanon and has been married for 28 years to her husband Shawn. They have two children and one grandchild. Son Shawn, 27, is in the Army National Guard, and daughter Lauren, 22, works for Fifth Third Bank.