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: Randy Golding
School: West-MEC CTE High School
# of years teaching: 18 Years
# of years as a technician: 18 Years
Watch the Full Interview
How did you get started in the automotive industry?
I started as a regular lube tech at a Western Auto in Kansas City, Missouri. I went through the Ford ACEP program and then moved to Phoenix, Arizona. While I was there, I worked for a dealership and multiple independent shops. Unfortunately, I got injured and decided to try teaching because it’s a lot easier on the body. I have now been a teacher for 18 years.
Tell us about your program at West-MEC CTE High School.
We’re a 2-year CTE high school that offers multiple programs. Our goal is to help students find their passion. Right now, about 85% of our students go into industry.
Every year, I have shops and dealerships asking for our graduates. It’s a great problem because we run out of students before we run out of jobs. Majority of the students get jobs from the shops they shadow at. The dealerships and independents look at this as a win-win.
What are some fun and unique things you include in your curriculum to keep your students engaged?
We go to different dealerships and see what it’s like there. Last year, we did our own challenge similar to SkillsUSA, and the students loved it. We had great support from industry, and a student walked away with almost $10,000 worth of tools.
We also host a parents night to get industry and parents together. We have a panel discussion and get them talking with each other.
We also have dealerships come in and do multi-point inspections, have a big pizza party, and everyone always has a great time.
How do you get local industry involved in your classroom?
We offer eight manufacturer programs, and have dual enrollment at local community colleges. We do job shadows every year for a week where students go to a dealership or shop and see what it’s like to work there. Some of the dealerships even allow them to shadow car sales, and show them there are many other opportunities in the industry besides turning a wrench.
I’m also working with a couple other dealerships so instead of having class at West-MEC, we are going to take a subject and co-teach with a technician.
This is a great industry. We need people. We need everyone to work together, and it needs more community involvement with dealerships. While we do have great support, we could always use more.