Episode Description

In this week’s episode of Beyond the Wrench, we are joined by John Gardner and Josh Ellis who are automotive instructors at Chipola College. You may also know them as the TV hosts of Tech Garage! During the episode, we discuss all the details behind their show and the success they’ve seen. We then go on to talk about how schools can build an automotive, collision, or diesel program, how to create an effective advisory committee, and the expectations of new technicians joining a shop.

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Building a Technician Program

  • Successful technician programs need to be supported by the school, and they need to be willing to give financial support.
  • The dealership and independent shops can be a huge help to schools by providing things like tools or donating vehicles.
  • Build relationships with the community and high schools. Let them know the program is there and it is an option for students.
  • Make the kids’ learning a top priority. Instructors’ number one focus should always be the students. If the program is fun, students will come and want to join.
  • Characteristics of a great instructor include adapting to change, flexibility, patience and multitasking.

Creating an Effective Advisory Committee

  • Technical schools are in the driver’s seat for the first time in history. There is a shortage for technicians, and it is something to use as leverage with shops.
  • Have an open door policy. If shops and instructors aren’t getting involved, they’re behind.
  • Don’t make meetings every two years. To be effective, meet multiple times a year and stay connected.
  • It’s a give-and-take relationship between schools and shops. They need to be working together to do what is best for the students.

Expectations of New Technicians

  • Different shops expect different things. It truly depends on the personality and expectations of the shop.
  • Be transparent with shops. Give shops the expectation that students are new to this and are being thrown new information everyday.
  • Some students may need hand holding for a little bit, but it will be worth it.
  • Some shops think students went through two years of schooling and they should know everything. It’s a new ball park in the shop, and shops have to curb their expectations.

Show Notes


Learn more about WrenchWay School Connect!

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About Our Host:

Jay Goninen
Co-Founder & President, WrenchWay
jayg@wrenchway.com | 608.716.2122

About Our Guests:

John Gardner
Automotive Instructor, Chipola College
TV host, Tech Garage

Josh Ellis
Automotive Instructor, Chipola College

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