Mechanic Technology Program at LCSC
Submitted by: Chris Squires, Lewis-Clark State College Student
Ever since I was in elementary school, I wanted to be an auto mechanic and maybe have my own repair facility in my home town. What sparked my interest was the time my grandmother’s ash tray had come out of the dash in her car. She was unable to get it to go back into its correct position so I gave it a couple tries and was able to get the job done. This was a very simple task to most but for a kid in elementary school it was a big deal! So from this point forward I never questioned what I wanted to do for a career choice after high school. I wanted to fix cars, trucks, small engines, anything mechanical. I wanted to learn and understand how things worked, be able to diagnose problems, make the repair and have that satisfaction of a job well done. But I wanted to further my education after high school before trying to get a job in the field. For me LCSC Auto Mechanic Technology was a perfect fit. What interested me in LCSC was it was a couple hours from home, tuition was very reasonable, they had several scholarship opportunities for technical degrees, and most importantly the instructors were all friendly and wanted to see their students do well and succeed, willing to answer every question.
While I was still in high school, we had the opportunity to be a part of a program called Education Talent Search. ETS taught us a lot about different scholarships, different colleges, and even go to tour colleges in the area. So maybe we could find something that was interesting to us. This was a HUGE help in deciding where to further my education. It gave me a chance to tour the classrooms, shop space, and visit with the instructors in different colleges. To me the best fit was definitely LCSC. I learned more about scholarships through LCSC and was fortunate enough to receive some though two years there. The tuition was already cheaper than most colleges and the help with scholarships was a big bonus.
After I graduated high school I got an apartment in Lewiston and started my first semester in the Auto Mechanics course. All of the instructors were friendly and very helpful with stuff relating to auto mechanics and also other events or class’s I had to attend across campus, and making sure I had everything that was required to get my associates degree. All of the material was taught very thoroughly and in a way that I could understand. I asked many, many questions though the 2 years I was there and every one was answered.
First thing in the morning was class room time for a few hour then we were released to the shop for on hands training. The vehicle’s we worked on were customer vehicles that had symptoms related to the material we were covering in the classroom for that semester. The shop had a parts department, alignment rack, 2 post lifts in most bays, transmission and engine repair equipment, and other training aids that helped with learning how to use certain tools and equipment in a shop environment. Another beneficial thing was the internship students got to do for a couple weeks. Each student was sent to a different shop across town and got to learn from a true shop environment. This opened the door for me that semester because I got a job at the shop I interned at. So going to school and then working in a shop afterwards each day was the extra experience I needed.
After I graduated I had worked in several different shops, even working in the oil fields for a while. For me to have that associates degree under my belt and on my resume was a big part in getting hired on with those bigger companies in North Dakota. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the help of LCSC and excellent staff. I would highly recommend this facility to anybody looking to go into any maintenance or repair line of work.