Alumna Spotlight: Julie Jacobson

Julie Jacobson, MAPL, LADC
Julie Jacobson, MAPL, LADC

1994 graduate works for DHS and teaches at Metro State

Julie Jacobson, MAPL, LADC, graduated from Dakota County Technical College in 1994, the same year Lisa Marie Presley married Michael Jackson, and the Chunnel began offering rail service between the United Kingdom and France. A single mom raising two daughters, Julie majored in Office Support, earning a Clerk Typist diploma. She turned that diploma into a career as a human services professional.

“I started out wanting to be a legal secretary,” said Julie, who participated in Student Senate while attending DCTC. “The college helped me find an administrative assistant job at Valley Oldsmobile Pontiac in Apple Valley. Back then the minimum wage was $5.15 an hour.”

Originally from Valley Stream, a village of 37,500 residents on western Long Island in New York State, Julie works as a program representative in the Behavioral Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). She is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. The treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs) is her area of focus and expertise.

“My Clerk Typist diploma set me up well to gain work experience and develop my resume, which allowed me to get a job with Dakota County Social Services, paving my way to further my education and embark on a professional career.”
— Julie Jacobson, MAPL, LADC, 1994 DCTC Alumna

Julie’s career in humans services took root in 2005 when she started working as a case aide at Dakota County Social Services (DCSS). She served in that role for nearly seven years before transitioning to a counselor position at an area counseling center and later as a chemical health counselor at Hennepin County Medical Center (now Hennepin Healthcare). She began working at DHS as a human services senior licensor in early 2014.

During her time at DCSS, Julie enrolled at Inver Hills Community College (her two daughters, Amy and Allyssa, are also Inver alumnae) and earned an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in Individualized Professional Studies/Human Services, graduating in 2008.

She continued her education at Metropolitan State University, earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Alcohol and Drug Counseling in 2011 and a Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) in 2018. She joined the Metro State community faculty that same year and teaches courses on alcohol and drug counseling.

“I love teaching college students,” Julie said. “I’m staying connected to the field of alcohol and drug counseling while influencing the next generation of alcohol and drug counselors.”

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Julie Jacobson | Q & A

Julie Jacobson

Julie Jacobson

Why did you choose human services as your career field?
I was hired in a clerical position for Dakota County Social Services in November 2004; the setting influenced me to want to do more, and in order to do more, I needed to further my education.

What did you like best about attending DCTC?
I remember a feeling of camaraderie with a lot of other nontraditional students.

How did your diploma prepare you for the workforce?
My Clerk Typist diploma set me up well to gain work experience and develop my resume, which allowed me to get a job with Dakota County Social Services, paving my way to further my education and embark on a professional career.

What did you like best about the Individualized Professional Studies/Human Services program at Inver Hills?
I was fortunate to be able to earn college credit at Inver Hills for the knowledge and skills I had gained through my work and life experiences. The accelerated classes, CLEP test and Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) were all perks of being a nontraditional student.

What was your most significant takeaway from the program?
There were so many helpful things in place to help everyone succeed.

Three words that describe you as a human services professional:

What advice would you give someone thinking about a career in human services?
Every service provided is governed by law so be sure to become well versed in the requirements of your chosen profession/population of clients you wish to work with.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job with the Minnesota Department of Human Services?
Building partnerships with other agencies, higher ed, provider organizations, etc., to create and continue the important work of the Minnesota DHS Behavioral Health Division.

What has been your toughest challenge in life?

What is your greatest accomplishment so far?

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My mother, Dorothea. She’s an artist who wanted to be an art teacher, but couldn’t due to a teacher hiring freeze in New York. She discovered a rewarding career working in the recreation center at a nursing home. She’s retired and lives in Port St. Lucie in Florida.

More about Julie…

Julie and her husband, Michael, a maintenance mechanic at Valmont Industries, celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary October 21, 2018. Michael is dad to Julie’s two daughters, Amy, 33, and Allyssa, 30. Amy works for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and is earning her master’s degree. She’s married and has four children, three boys and one girl. Allyssa earned her bachelor’s at the College of St. Scholastica and is a licensed social worker. She’s married with one son.

Together, Julie and Michael have two sons, Thomas, 18, and Joseph, 15. Thomas attends Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he studies music education on the path to becoming a music director. Joseph is a 10th grader at Farmington High School, where’s he’s an avid thespian and academic standout.

When she’s not working at DHS or teaching at Metro State, Julie enjoys gardening, latch hook rug making, and spending time with her husband, four children and five grandchildren. She resides with her family in Farmington, Minnesota.

Julie Jacobson | 21 Answers

  1. Favorite season: Fall
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Beach! I especially like Jones Beach on Long Island.
  3. Most exciting thing you have ever done: I don’t think I’ve done it yet!
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Ruby-throated hummingbird
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Grand Canyon
  6. Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Humans
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Timothy Olyphant
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Billy Joel
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Choose kind.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Ping-pong
  12. Scariest thing in the world: The unknown
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Matlock
  14. Favorite all-time movie: The Wizard of Oz
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Seeing all my children graduate college
  16. Most valuable material possession:  My home
  17. First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: A vacation home in the Hamptons
  18. Dream occupation: Full-time college professor
  19. Person you would most like to meet: Christopher Walken
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: To play the piano
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: Being kind to one another
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