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Is there any wyotech or other auto trade school teachers out there

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by eddytheb, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. fast30coupe
    Joined: Nov 15, 2009
    Posts: 1,019

    from Illinois

    I feel the best way to learn is build a hot rod from start to finish from the ground up. Not with all your buddies coming over either by your self. This will teach you tons and the shit that you don't know ask someone, use your brain and think about it. The first one my now be the prettiest, might have a few things that aren't perfect, but you will be on the right track.
  2. Exactly, with, or without Wyotech you're starting at the bottom, I don't give a shit what the commercials say. Save yourself alot of money, and learn from someone who has made the mistakes themselves. I spent all that money to hear someones "theory" on body and paint, and then I had to go and try to apply it on my own. It wasn't very pretty for awhile. I don't even want to get started on the streetrod program. Don't get me wrong, There a FEW instructors that I felt actually cared and were knowledeable about the feild, but afterall they are just hired hands trying to make a living like the rest of us.
  3. Skeezix
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 845

    from SoCal

    After 11 years of 'making' race car mechanics I have seen many that are worthy, most are not.

    I always tell the guys that get tired of the other fucktards "they are the competition for your future job" so check them off the list.

    Typically that will snap them out of worrying about the idiots and focus on their own success.
  4. Skeezix
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 845

    from SoCal

    Suggestion: Have him go stand outside when its cold as hell and hot as balls. Then tell him to do something with a wrench. They don't show the ugly truth of the work on TV. There was a movie a while back where a guy joins the Army and at boot he complains - I want to be in the golf Army like in the video. :D
  5. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    Yep:D Words to that effect I repeat to my grandkids. There's enough that can, that want to, to offset the don't wann'a or won't.
  6. I teach chassis fabrication at the Blairsville PA Wyotech campus. I will GUARANTEE you all that any student who really WANTS to learn chassis fabrication will be ready at graduation for an entry level position at a custom fab shop.

    The problem we face is that many students think they know it all coming in, because they saw it on the internet or read it in a magazine. The UN-learning is the hardest part for us, but once we can show that most of what they've seen is crap, it becomes much easier to train them to do things the right way. They won't be fast, but they will know how to ask the right questions about design and be able to turn out a quality product.

    Some of the students we get don't have the patience or pride of a gnat on crack, and unfortunately those are the ones everyone hears about. I have plenty of former students gainfully employed in the industry, and over half of each class we turn out could make it in any shop. The bottom line is, only the individual student can determine their own success....
  7. eddytheb
    Joined: Sep 2, 2008
    Posts: 125


    Out of 100 how many do you feel are ready for a basic body shop position then.

  8. Kerry67
    Joined: Apr 11, 2005
    Posts: 2,606


    I think the problem is when a shop needs help, they are looking for experienced people. Not too many are looking for someone who has no experience and train them. I never went to school for anything auto (although I wish I would have) but when I was about 20 or so, I tried to get jobs in auto body places and could never even get anyone to talk to me because of lack of experience. So I ended up being a printer......had no experience at that when I started either and I lasted 18 years doing it.
  9. But the issue is that the duds walk with the same credentials as the superstars.
  10. this is a great read, and a worthwhile one- keep it going!!

    as a high school votech kid, a McPherson College Auto Restoration grad, a street rod shop employee, then a tech school student, and now, a tech school teacher, there's a TON of good stuff here.

    First day of my High Performance Engine Building class I show my students their final exam--''design your favorite engine"-- they get about 4 lines out of 50. Sets the tone for the rest of the term.

    I wish all the other instructors would set a similar tone--

    I, like many, wish that the schools would begin the hazing and the attrition process right out of the gate. There are MANY disillusioned students who simply DO NOT BELONG in the automotive field. This ain't rock n roll or the movies- it's LIFE, and not an especially easy one. However, I "get" that if it weren't for the 20 morons, the 3 good students wouldn't have a school to go to at all. Sure, those three guys would probably succeed with or without the schooling, but, perhaps the education is just the edge they need to really thrive.
  11. That's the thing, instead of cramming 80 students into a class with 4 instructors and hoping everyone is getting it, why not reduce the classes down so the people who learn at different paces get the help to really figure it out. They spent the money to go to the school, so they obviously want to learn. But, they don't do that which kinda shows they're all about the money. So now these "duds" who got "good enoughed" the whole time, are working at Taco Bell with their $30,000.00 diploma hanging above the shitter in their low income apartment.
  12. you're absolutely right about this, and it's not fair. Who ever said life was fair?

    I have been questioned about this numerous times by students, and I'm not sure what the right answer is.

    What I tell them is -- don't rely on the power of your diploma to get you a job--that's what the guy who isn't qualified does. Rely on the power of your KNOWLEDGE, and your personality to get you the job. Any good interviewer will be able to pick out the differences between you and an idiot. If they can't, and he gets the job instead of you, I'm pretty sure you don't want to work for that guy. Remember when you go for an interview that you are ENTRY LEVEL, and express that to your interviewer, so that they don't expect you to be perform as an experienced employee.

    as an addition, at the street rod shop, every time there was a graduating class from Wyotech, we'd get a crop of "resumes" Typically they consist of a high school summer job or two at a fast food joint or some such, and then an itemized list of how many hours of study they have in all the classes they took, as if those were job experiences. To you tech school guys-- DON'T DO THIS!!!!! List your job experiences, and then your education. A couple lines. For Chrissakes, you're 19, how long could your resume possibly be?
  13. RichG
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,919


    29nash hit the nail on the head in my opinion.

    The interview process is everything. The last quarter of my schooling we went on a plant tour. We were met by electricians, talked to, then broken down into small groups and given a tour of the facility while being shown what was expected of the electricians. I was the only one in my group that showed any real interest in what they were doing, probably because it was a manufacturing plant and that was where my interest lied. After the tour we were told that they were looking to hire one electrician and wanted to do so out of our class.

    Two weeks later the electrical supervisor and the leadman came over to our school. We were given plenty of notice about this, to dress appropriately and have a resume ready. Out of 19 students in my class, 15 interviewed with the company. Half of those weren't prepared with either a decent resume or dress appropriately. One even answered his cell phone during the interview.

    Two weeks later three student were told that the company wanted to have another interview, I was one of them. At this interview, at the plant, I met the human resources director, the plant manager, the plant engineer, the supervisor, and two electricians, again with the electrical supervisor and the electrical leadman. It was a thorough and informal interview, but I walked away feeling rung out. All through the process they questioned my abilities and what I knew. I was honest and told them the truth, that I knew very little but was ambitious to learn.

    I was hired on a thirty day try out. I was tested and retested on just about anything you could imagine. I even had one electrician try to get me to sit and talk after break was over, just to see how motivated I was. They would let me complete a job, go out and size it up, tell me all of my mistakes, and make me start all over again, just to see what my attitude would be. There were many, many more tests during this time period, it wasn't so much to see what I knew but more to see how I acted and what kind of person I was.

    See, if you can find a person with the right attitude and aptitude, you can teach them what they don't know...and just so you don't think that I was a "fluke", 4 out of the 7 electricians in our shop came from the same school.
  14. this is a wrongful assumption, and is why potential employers become soured on the tech school grad.

    Not all of my students want to learn what I have to teach- truthfully- probably half or less. The pitiful truth at my school is that a good portion of the students there simply have nothing better to do. It's either this school, or sit around in their underwear and smoke pot. Oh, sure, they could get up off their ass and get a job, but that'd be much too "real" so, school it is.

    As an employer, you HAVE to develop interviewing skills. DO NOT rely on their diploma, or their line of bullshit, to make the assumption that they know what they're doing. The guy you want to hire will gloss right over the fact that that he has a diploma, and will want to focus on the important aspects. The guy you DON'T want, will want to focus on the diploma, and how that sheet of paper is the be-all, end-all
  15. Yeah, I guess I have to agree with that. When I finally did get a job a bodyshop, I did't tell them I had a Wyotech diploma. I was started at eight dollars an hour, and I was just glad to be working in a good shop. I learned more in that shop in two weeks, than my whole stint at Wyotech.
  16. vintagedrags
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 314

    from Erie, PA

    I agree for about 10% of the students. The truth be known, these students get loans while they are in school. They can use this not only to pay for the school, but for living expenses also. What I find in dealing with the good students is, the slackers are only there to collect this loan money in which they dont have to pay for as long as they are going to school full time. What happens is they think that they can just default on the loans when they are done with school, wrong!! Student loans and taxes are two things you MUST pay for even if you cop out and go bankrupt!! You could go to school for 8 years and become a medical doctor, but you still have to work for 3 or 4 more years at a low wage for a doctor before you make the real money. And this is for a medical doctor!!
    The system for higher learning by paying for it is broken. You must learn on the job. Owners must be willing to teach their employees.
  17. fuel
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 218


    Let me tell you my background. I'm a journeyman millwright and I served my apprenticeship, I didn't buy my book. I started working in plants when I was 16. I also went to college and got my BS and MS in Industrial Technology while working. I currently teach at the college level at a small university. I teach in the Engineering Technology Department (This is what Industrial Arts evolved into). I teach Metals Technology, Manufacturing Systems, Industrial Design, and a slew of other classes. We have 2 hours of lecture a week and 4 hours of lab a week per semester. I'm considered a hard ass, but a good and fun instructor. I've failed 80% of my class one time, but that was a rare occasion. Usually my classes consist of no to a very few As, mostly Bs and Cs, some Ds, and some Fs. I'm not a "pass 'em and forget 'em" kind of guy. They have to EARN their grade.

    I've hesitated to post on this because I'll start ranting, but but moparsled is right. You can only work with what you have. Some semesters I get a bunch of good, hardworking students. Other semesters I get a bunch of unmotivated slackers. You can only do so much with what you have. This is especially true when government programs are involved. Take high school autoshop for instance. When I was in school, I couldn't take autoshop. My grades were too high. They reseved those classes for the "non college track students" or in administration's minds: the screw ups. Guess what classes all my buddies got to take? There is a bad stigma that is attached to the trades in academia and that is you don't have to be smart to do it. Total BS, I know, but that's the way it is.

    The other thing that all of ya'll who aren't teachers don't understand (and I didn't until I got into it) is that, at least at the university level, teaching is the most unappreciated and least important thing to administration. Administration just doesn't give a crap about that. Research, committee meetings, paperwork, and BS is all more important than teaching. I focus on teaching and mentoring my students. Guess what? I've quickly fiound myself at a pay ceiling with no chance for advancement. Sad, but true. If ALL I had to do is focus on teaching my kids and studying to make myself a better teacher than my job would be nirvana. Unfortunately, it isn't like that. Teaching is a skill, just like welding, machining, etc. Unfortunately, VERY few people are good at it and those that are get no incentive to remain good at it. They would much prefer you to look good ON PAPER than to be good in real life.

    And that is just the start of it...
  18. vintagedrags
    Joined: Aug 24, 2008
    Posts: 314

    from Erie, PA

    No truer words have been spoken about the teachers.
    The job of the administration is revenue at all costs period!
    The more students the more revenue, the same goes for high schools as well.
    Make operating costs lower and they will increase their profit, there fore the teachers suffer with insufficiant funds to properly teach the students, that in turn learn not to give a shit.
    My father in law is a college professor, my wife is a h.s. biology teacher and I'm the chairman of the advisory board for our local technical h.s.
    We see this crap all of the time, the good students are fighting for their careers even before they get a chance to learn, all in the name of revenue.
  19. Can't speak for the Collision dept results (your body shop question). I only know what comes in and goes out of my dept. Easily 50% of our students would be successful in the industry.

    Again, I emphasize my earlier point that it is up to the individual how much they get out of this or any tech school. The same people who sleep through classes and don't pay attention are the ones who bitch the loudest about how the school sucks and they can't find a job.

    Joined: Jan 9, 2007
    Posts: 2,851


    I graduated with honors in 1999 from Laramie from Collision/Refinishing & Street Rod tech with my focus in chassis fabrication. I would have to agree with everything you've said. And, until I got deep into chassis fab, I was really questioning my WYOTECH investment (about $25k at that time:eek:) as compared to my local junior college autobody programI didn't get recruited, but starrted investigating the school after reading Matthew Harris' letter in an old hot rod magazine. As it turns out, he was a street rod tech instructor while I was there.

    I was one of two students in my class that drove their projects in and out of the program (installed a Nova clip under the front of my '60 Elcamino, which we still have)...I was, for the most part, impressed with the guys in my class, as well as my instructors. Those of us who showed drive and dedication were encouraged, and often allowed to come in early and stay late to help progress on our cars, often resulting in 12-14 hour days. (while still pouring enough beer back to suit my 22 year-old self)

    In the end, I decided that I preferred to keep this skill as a hobby, and to pick up side work from time to time rather than get burned out with what I love. I still entered trade work as a commercial glass installer, and continued on to finish my Bachelors degree...

    I must say, having completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management at University of Phoenix, I was classmates with plenty of "duds" walking around with the same degree as I have. It's all about experience.

    I am going to encourage my kids to go to a 4-year college, even if it takes them 6 years to finish.

  21. Dchaz
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 481


    its not just the automotive field. I run the fab shop for a company that builts airport firefighting equipment, when we have a opening i get alot of guys fresh out of trade school ,i drew up a print with some layout, welding and machine work on a small part that i use as the test. I can usally weed out the bs-ers in about a minute or so.
    What if you came up with some kinda test where they come in for a day ( pay min. wage or something) and use it as a way to find out a little about what they know and are trying to fool you on.
  22. blinddaddykarno
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 121


    Very true! The saying goes that you can't make a silk purse from a sows ear comes to mind. You only get what YOU wan't out of any program. I went to North Dakota State School of Science for auto body repair and refinishing back in the '70s, and I would say that only half of my classmates gave a damn and wanted to learn. It does come down to an ability to sort out the wheat from the chaff, regardless of whay school or program any one goes to!

  23. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,179

    from Yakima WA.

    What is sad that many of these programs are taught by people that couldn't make it in the trade; but could write a nice resume and could talk to and BS the school administrators.
  24. boom!
  25. 64Cyclone
    Joined: Aug 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,496


    I'm not gonna get up on a soap box, but I can tell you that I have seen more of these Tech School guys flunk out in the real world than not. I have seen a few (2 exactly) that made it, but as someone said before....they would have made it just fine before Tech School.

    What makes a tech? It's the kid that was building models, gokarts, minibikes and dirt bikes. Not the kid with no direction that talked his parents into spending a crap load of money on attempting to make him something he's not. These schools are about making money it seems to me. I just trained a 3.87 GPA tech school guy how to rack a fu*king car?? Wtf?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  26. Unfortunately, that is sometimes the case. The downturn in the economy has provided tech schools with a little deeper pool of potential talent, but it is kinda hard to tell what somebody really knows before its "too late". The biggest problem we face is instructors who refuse to accept science and new technology and won't learn as they go. Nowadays, everyone with a MIG welder in his garage is a "chassis builder", but that doesn't mean they know how to do things correctly... I don't know too many instructors in other depts, but it's pretty easy to tell right off when you're talking to someone who's full of it.

    We're pretty lucky in Chassis Fab here in Blairsville, as we have quite a few long time racers and fabricators, including our dept. coordinator. Makes it easier to keep a higher standard of quality with our graduates.
  27. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,242


    I am sure that the programs are good if you work a normal 12 hour hot rod day at it, and have the aptitude.
    The problem is no one has any skills, and people don't want to work to get the skills whether as Whyotech Students or on the job.
    What really amazes me is how little so many people in the field can do, and are willing to do that have been in it for 10 years.
    It is really amazing how one guy who has put in the time can fabricate a piece in 4 hours and it looks spectacular. He gets $25 an hour and is happy. But most guys who have been in the field for 5 years it takes them 8 hours at $20 an hour which costs me $160 instead of $100 for a piece that is not that great, and I have to spend a lot of time dealing with it = expensive. New guys want you to pay them $20 an hour, and it would look like junk when done, and take them 15 hours = cost me $300 to have it a piece of junk made. It is funny how far peoples skills really are, and how people with less skills ( lazy, don't want to learn to do it better and faster b/c they know it all ) really believe they are doing a great job, and want you to feel bad for some reason that they are lazy. Also, the guys with no skills don't want to work unless they are getting paid for every second they are there messing your stuff up, learning on the job. The really funny thing is that the really good guys with mad skills, would still do a spectacular job at $10 an hour BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT and are craftsmen / artist, not wanna bees.
    They did a better job during there non paid apprenticeships and were happy to do it, than the guys bitter because they only make $15 an hour with no skills except breaking things and costing you money.

    This is not just the classic car field, but all of society. Why do you think China has surpassed us now? We let it happen out of our complacency.

    I am lucky right now to have a good small crew. But have given up on ever trying to hire people again. If my current people leave, I won't hire / try out more for sure. Most people are just too expensive, I do much better on my own. People want you to carry their weight, where they need to carry their own, and then some extra to help the shop so they have a place go.

    Luckily, I keep having some great people pop up to work that I just can't turn away. So maybe this crazy thing will continue for another 20 years.

    We have a great kid apprentice on the way, so I am stoked about that. He is going to live behind the shop for free, work, surf and have fun. And learn for a normal 12 hour hot rod day, and then after 2 years run circles around most people with 15 years experience in any shop around, just like my last apprentice does now. But I would never ever ever hire anyone that didn't have mad mad skills without a long apprenticeship. If someone had good skills I might hire them if they want to work the day, and were stoked for the chance to apprentice nights and Saturdays some.

    They should be paying you to learn for the first year.
    People have to pull their own weight in this economy, and have something of value to offer.
    No more free rides in this country. I am not here to take care of you.

    Bottom line is that no one under 60 ( maybe 1 in 850 ) is worth having around anyone. The work ethic and attitude is just not there.

    No one wants to do what it takes to be great anymore, they just want to play the part on tv.

    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  28. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,242


    This is good advice. Then the shop owner can give some time, pay for broken things and supplies used, and maybe break even, and it would be good for all.

    I give my apprentices homework out of old shop manuals. Basically, read the 1st chapter of 1940 Ford Repair manual, and tell me about it at am coffee, and i will ask some questions. It is fun. I should start a small school. Seriously thinking about it. I really love to teach. So if any takers, give me a call.
  29. Classic_Crime_Inc
    Joined: Oct 19, 2008
    Posts: 78


    my dad went to nashivlle auto diseal and he now he works for his parents trailer dealership..he learned a lot and can do a lot but never uses it and me I love cars and want to learn as much as I can but he hates teaching so I'm stuck learning on my own

    my friend went to ohio tech for about a year and now quit because he thinks it was a waste of money and he learned nothing he says he learned more in high school

    another guy I know went to NTI and quit after about a year and hated it there

    personally for me I'm a very good marketer, businessman..etc I know how to run a business but dont have a lot of auto related skills..I'd love to own a shop so therefore I plan on interning at local hot rod shops for free and getting as much experience as possible

    currently I'm going to college in my 4th year for teaching and realizing I dont like it and I love cars and want to turn my hobby into a career..we'll see how it plays out
  30. von Dyck
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 678

    von Dyck

    Mr. Sackowski!
    You may enjoy "teaching" one-on-one apprentices the way you do it, and see some positive results day to day, week to week. It is quite another thing to try to impart skills and knowledge to 20+ highschool guys, 80% of whom a) would rather be doing something else non-productive, b) don't have any innate aptitude, c) won't keep up with the assigned work (fooling around instead of full class hands-on), d) aren't prepared every day to pay attention to instruction, e) won't review for unit quizzes, or f) any or all of the above. These conclusions come from 29 years of teaching grades 10, 11, 12 Automechanics. My top 5% of students did extremely well in our province's Tech Schools as well as in our registered Apprenticeship Program. These 5% were a pleasure to have as students and many are personal friends in their adult lives and careers. Many are successful entrepreneurs in a variety of auto related fields today - many do their own mechanical work and prep on their race cars and motorcycles.
    By the way, Dave Morgan is conducting a Drag Racing Chassis Seminar in Minot, ND this coming April. It would be interesting to know how many minds he will retain throughout the 8 hour classroom session before he is ready to take them to the "hands-on" session the following day.
    Bottom line: many "think" they want it...precious few will pay the price. Always been that way - always will be.
    So, Mr.Sackowski, if you can hand pick your students through a well planned screening process and establish some stringent criteria, you run a good chance of enjoying the process and turn out some excellent, reliable tradesmen.
    Who knows, Sir? There may even be a shiny apple on your desk some morning!

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