Parents and siblings both attending RACC is not that unusual, but both of them attending at the same time and with the same major is rare.
It was 2006 when Jared Yetzer started taking classes as a website development major. He chose RACC because he was employed full-time and needed a college environment with a flexible schedule. During one of his first classes, he completed a project that sparked an interest in his dad, Jerry.
"I was looking at a site he had made as a project," said Jerry, who had taken sporadic courses at RACC over four decades. "What he had done fascinated me. After several weeks of looking over his shoulder, I contacted RACC about returning to school."
Jerry, now 57, had spent more than 20 years working in construction. He also home-schooled Jared and raised him as a single dad. When it came time to return to school, it was the son who encouraged the father. "My assumption was that I would be this old guy in a room full of ‘kids' with instructors that I might not be able to connect with. Jared assured me that would not be the case, and he thought I would actually enjoy the instructors," Jerry said.
Jerry went on to say that he quickly grew to feel at home. "Once I hit the classroom, I was hooked on web technology," he said. "From the code work to visual design, there was a feel, a connection to construction, especially layout and design-wise. Like looking at an empty room, the blank web page had that same effect on me."
The father and son tried to keep their schedules separate to give each other some space, but eventually found that to be impossible and ended up in the classroom together. "It had advantages for sure, such as needing only one textbook, and, if possible, carpooling," Jerry said. "We did all of our homework and projects independently. Also, we rarely paired off in the classroom for collaborative work. That would have stunted growth for us both."
Jared received his degree in 2009 and returned to work at Misco Products Corporation as a digital press operator. He spent time as a work study in the web office when he wasn't at Misco as he continued to search for a full-time position in his field. Jerry received an Associate Degree in General Studies and then a certificate in website design in 2009. He was a work study in the web office during his studies and then stayed on to work part-time after his degree.
Now, the father and son duo are the marketing team at Service Caster Corporation, a local business in West Reading. The company specializes in casters, which are wheels on a swivel, and range from grills and chairs through industrial needs.
Jerry began there in Fall 2011 and Jared said he was then asked to join his dad. "His boss liked the work my dad was doing and inquired about me. It wasn't long after that that I ended up working there. I've been there a few months over a year now, and it's been a great experience," said Jared.
"It's great to finally do the work that I went to school and trained for," Jared added.
Jared handles sales and internet marketing, while Jerry focuses on website design and web marketing.
"I think working together has a huge advantage in that we know each other, especially when it comes to knowledge and skill levels," said Jerry. "Defining parameters as to which person is going to handle a task requires little effort."
Jared also enjoys it and jokes that he can't hide anything from his dad, who is also his boss. "It is great because we've worked together my whole life. At this point, our relationship is strong enough and we know each other well enough to work together extremely well. I would hope that we'll continue working together for as long as possible," said Jared.
Even outside of Service Caster, Jerry and Jared collaborate on their personal websites and YouTube channel. They also assist local churches with their web presence. As the internet constantly evolves and new social media platforms and sites come online, the pair said learning is continuous.
"RACC gave me the experience on using the internet as a tool to obtain information," Jerry said. "It was a way to get to all the extra stuff that there was just not enough time in class to broach."
Jared, too, had a key takeaway from his time at RACC. "One of the biggest things I experienced was that you get what you give," he said. "The more effort I put into the classes, the more I'd get out of them. It's the same with work, and everything else in life.