When Waubonsee alum, Colton Karas, graduated from Waubonsee’s Automotive Technology Program, he never imagined that he would eventually get the opportunity to work for one of the “Big Three” American car manufacturers.
At a recent visit back to campus, the former Field Service Engineer shared words of wisdom to a room full of automotive students eager to absorb advice. “If you want to work on cars the best thing you can do is master electronics at Waubonsee and take web-based certifications. The more training you have, the more prepared you will be in the industry.”
Karas shared the top reasons Waubonsee students have an advantage after they finish their automotive studies: 1) The cost of receiving quality training at Waubonsee is a fraction of what it would cost if an individual starts at a four-year institution. 2) During the automotive classes at Waubonsee, students get a hands-on opportunity to work on a variety of new and old cars, including custom cars, luxury cars, and household names. 3) Students at Waubonsee learn how to handle tools and disassemble vehicle parts in a way that sets them apart in skill acquisition as opposed to reading about it in a textbook or through theory-based classroom learning.
On average, Waubonsee Automotive students spend up to six hours a day, four days a week learning side-by-side with their instructors at the automotive technology lab. The nature of the classes creates an environment where students interact personally with their instructors. As a result, instructors learn their students’ individual needs and are able to tailor their teaching and career recommendations accordingly.
“We have a unique opportunity to develop a close relationship with our students. We notice their individual strengths and weaknesses, and because of that, we can look for the best opportunity for them,” said Guy Tiberio, Associate Professor of Automotive Technology.
Hearing Karas’ story is a rewarding experience for Tiberio who says, “Seeing our students graduate and go on to positively contribute to the field is a great feeling. It shows that we made a difference in their lives and helped them get on the path they wanted to go.”
After graduating Waubonsee, Karas transferred to Southern Illinois University (SIU) to complete his Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology. Kara enjoys helping students stay informed about the automotive industry and plans to return to Waubonsee again soon.
Students completing an Associate in Applied Science degree for Automotive Technology or Auto Body Repair have the opportunity to be considered for acceptance into a related Bachelor of Science program at SIU. If all SIU admission requirements are met, Waubonsee students start off at SIU as juniors.
Waubonsee Community College’s Automotive Technology Program is Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master certified and an ASE Education Foundation accredited program. The Automotive Technology Program provides students with a strong mechanical aptitude, a sound understanding of automotive electronics, and computer controls to accurately diagnose and repair the most hard-to-find problems. Upon graduation, students will have developed high-demand skills and networked with industry partners. Visit www.waubonsee.edu/programs to learn more.