This article is part of an ongoing series to highlight fun/unique things different schools across the country are doing to attract students to their technician program, keep them engaged in the program, and set them up for a successful career as a technician.

Instructor Spotlight: Michael Shoebroek

Name: Michael Shoebroek
School: Austin Community College
Experience: 11 years as an Automotive Technician, and 25 years as an Automotive Instructor/ Department Chair

Watch the Full Interview

How do you attract students to your automotive program?

To attract new students to the program, we have someone from the automotive department attend career fairs, high school recruiting events, and even car shows. We use virtual reality goggles and an automotive repair game while visiting with the students. You can only imagine the reaction you get from students when you bring that to a high school. Once of the best things you can do is to get involved in the local advisory committee for high schools in the area. It’s not a huge time commitment, and is extremely important.

What do you wish middle and high school students knew about the automotive industry?

Something I wish more people knew about that we do in Texas at the 8th grade level is involve the parents. Parents are invited to come out and help their 8th grader pick their career path for when they go to high school. I really wish the industry and schools would do this. It’s a good place to involve colleges, universities, and employers to talk about the different opportunities out there.

How you use WrenchWay and School Connect?

When employers contact me about wanting to hire our students, I have a standard email response that includes a hyperlink to check out WrenchWay so employers can see everything WrenchWay is doing for students.

How do you get local industry involved in your classroom?

I have local business involved on my advisory committees. When we need training aids, they are the first ones I call for components and show-and-tell items. They will also get invited to meet and greets. We have one day where we invite employers to come on campus, visit with students, and talk about the different opportunities they offer.

Final thoughts?

If you’re looking for technicians, you need to get involved with WrenchWay and local advisory committees. At the high school level, I get emails asking about students, and you’re behind the eight ball at that point. You really need to get involved earlier, and as soon as you can. By the time our students start our program, some of them already have jobs. Get involved anywhere you can, because there is help needed everywhere.

WrenchWay School Connect is a free tool that makes it easier for schools to connect with local shops and dealerships. Click here to sign up for free.