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Students are jump starting their career in Wausau

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Wisconsin Automotive and Truck Education Association is partnering with local auto-body shops and Northcentral Technical College for a free class.

The class is called the Auto Collision Basics Training Pathways Program. It is funded through grants from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Through this, students are given the opportunity to get real-world experience. “It’s all hands-on,” Dealer Principal, Jerry Brickner III said.

Right now, 12 students have the opportunity to learn from professionals at Brickner’s of Wausau and Olson Auto Body and Paint. Brickner says the class also helps fill a need. “We can’t find employees. So we figured, you know what, let’s find people that are interested in this.”

“[I’ve] always been a car guy and like working on cars,” said Aaron Fiedler, an interested student in the class. “[But] never had the opportunity to learn formally or to learn any techniques that were modern so this was an opportunity for me to do that,” he added.

Fiedler said before taking the class, he was a substitute teacher. “I don’t have a full-time job doing that so I’ve always wanted to be in mechanics or auto-collisions.”

The class is a 29-week course. It teaches the student’s body shop basics from repairs to painting. The class’s instructor said his favorite part is seeing the students grow. “It’s really great you get to pass on their knowledge to them and see what they learn and pick up on what you teach them,” Brian Brummond said.

That’s something another student, Ryan Durante, said he looks forward to. “I like to learn something new every day. Every day I can come here after work with a question.”

Another bonus is getting paid while they learn. “They don’t want to have school time because they have full-time jobs they have families to fend for so they need to work, and they absolutely love it,” Brickner said.

“I have a hard time sitting in classrooms and stuff and this is the complete opposite of it. Maybe an hour or two is in the classroom but the rest of the time we’re out in the shop working on cars and it’s pretty fun,” Durante added.

If you are interested in learning more about the classes, click here for more details.

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