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Joining us on this episode is Kelly Moore, campus president of Lincoln Tech in Denver, Colorado.

Lincoln Tech has 22 campuses located throughout the United States, and they have been educating tomorrow’s workforce since 1946. Lincoln Tech trains its students to enter the workforce in the automotive, skilled trades, health sciences, culinary, spa and cosmetology, and information technology career fields. They are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

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Don't have time to listen? Read the transcript!

Bob Martin: Joining us today on this edition of Imagine America Radio is Dr. Kelly Moore, president of Lincoln Tech – Denver, Colorado. The topic of today’s episode will be automotive careers and, more importantly, the important things that Lincoln Tech in Denver is doing to prepare young people for careers in the automotive field.

Dr. Moore, thank you for joining us.

Kelly Moore: Thank you for having me today.

Bob: I think for the benefit of our listeners it would be helpful if you could outline very briefly what the typical automotive technician is looking at in a way of a career? What are they looking at maybe on a day-to-day basis or, more importantly, how are you preparing them in the classroom to move into that environment?

Kelly: Certainly. So an automotive technician—I think it will help to begin by developing an understanding of what an automotive technician does on a daily basis. And they work on vehicles in a variety of capacities. They will inspect, diagnose, maintain, and repair vehicles and keep them running on the road. And for an entry-level individual working in this industry, some of that work may include conducting or doing oil changes, brake replacements, and tire rotations. And with the changing technology, electrical systems—and understanding electronics and computers—is also critically important to maintaining the vehicle.

We train our students in what we like to call “bumper-to-bumper” in our automotive program, which allows our graduates and our students to get that that hands-on experience as well as the theory behind all of that to pursue entry-level positions in the industry at automotive dealerships, independent shops, fleets, and service centers—to name a few.

Lee Doubleday: Kelly, this is Lee. And I’m talking to Dr. Kelly Moore, campus president of Lincoln Tech in Denver, Colorado.

So tell me something, what does a career outlook look like for automotive technicians, maybe on a national level and then also more granular in the Denver metro area?

Kelly: Sure. So the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that by 2028, there will be a need to hire over 700,000 automotive technicians across the country. And in Colorado alone, the job growth is expected to be around 14,000 for automotive technicians.

Lee: Wow! Okay, so, with automotive technicians being in such high demand, it seems like something worth getting an education. Should someone go to school to learn how to become an automotive technician right now? And what does a typical program look like: diagnostics, transmissions, etc.? And how long is a typical automotive technician program? I know that’s sort of a three-parted question.

Kelly: That’s great. Those are great questions. And yes, someone should definitely go to school to become an automotive technician. And what that does is it allows a student to have access to the knowledge and experience of the faculty who are teaching the program, the curriculum design, and the access to the equipment that the students will be working on.

The typical program to become an automotive technician includes classes in engines; fuels and emissions; diagnostics and engine control; transmissions; air conditioning, heating, and electrical systems; advanced electronics; brake systems; steering and suspension systems; reprogramming computers; and how to run your own shop. Additionally, the students at the Denver campus can become level 0 and level 1 certified in Chrysler’s Mopar® Career Automotive Program.

And then in answer to your last question, the typical length of the program is 13 months for our diploma program and just an additional 3 more months—16 months—to earn an associate degree.

Lee: Wow. Okay. 13 months. That’s incredible! Now, let’s say I’m interested in automotive technology. And when I tour a campus that’s offering this program either virtually or physically at the location, what are a few things that I should be looking for when I’m thinking about a school to maybe go to attend to learn automotive technology?

It seems like a program such as this would require some really updated equipment and a safe learning environment in order to stay relevant in current work environments. Would the equipment that the school uses be something I should consider, and maybe what else should I be considering? Should it be accreditation or length of program or certifications or the backgrounds of the instructors? Or even—I think you had actually just mentioned the Chrysler program—but should I be looking at who the school partners with as far as employers and that may be available to help me enter the workforce quicker?

Kelly: Those are great questions. And I think you really hit on the key components that when someone is looking to enter into this industry and to look for a program to help them do that, there are some critical pieces that they should look at. The very first thing that the student should look at is the technology offered by the school. So, at the Denver campus of Lincoln Tech, the students work under the hood of fully equipped vehicles, using computerized diagnostic equipment and specialty tools. We have a 60-bay auto lab that includes a variety of alignment racks, tire changers, wheel balancers, lifts, scan tools, ATech trainers that are also located in our classrooms, brake lays, diagnostic equipment for ADS brakes. And all of this equipment is from a variety of different manufacturers to help in the learning process, just to name a few.

A prospective student should also look at program accreditation as well as the individual institutional accreditation. We are accredited by ACCSC, which is a national accrediting agency that looks at a variety of career colleges and schools. Our program is also NATEF ASE accredited, which means that it meets or exceeds industry-recognized standards of excellence, which is validated by external industry professionals.

Additionally, which you mentioned, are instructors. You need to look at the faculty that are teaching you in these courses and in this program, and the instructors at Lincoln Tech – Denver, are master-certified with ASE—which is Automotive Service Excellence—in the courses they teach. And they bring years of professional experience to the classroom. And in order for them to become ASE master-certified, an individual has to have a certain number of years of experience as a technician in the field and pass a series of exams.

Previously, I mentioned our relationship and our partnership with Chrysler. Chrysler has made available to our campus and to our students the ability to take online educational programs, as well as certifications to become level 0 and level 1 certified. And then we have employer partnerships, not only here in the Denver metro region but across the western half of the United States and all of the United States. That is, if a student is interested in moving beyond the Denver metro area when they graduate and they want to start working in the field, we have those relationships from our career services department that our students can then go work in those geographic regions.

Bob: We’re talking to Dr. Kelly Moore, Lincoln Tech – Denver, Colorado. Topic of today’s episode is automotive careers.

Dr. Moore, one more question before we close today’s—it’s been a very informative session. And now, put your hat on as a student, okay, or one that we hope is going to be a successful student. So, what do you think are the three or four most important personality traits that a student should have that would help them in the classroom, help them get employed, help them in their career moving forward? What do you think they would be?

Kelly: That is a great, great question. And there are three key personality traits that will help someone be not only successful as a student, but for someone in the career field as well. And the first one is they have to enjoy hands-on. They have to enjoy working with their hands on a daily basis. The second personality trait is that they have to like to fix or solve problems. As I mentioned earlier, a big critical piece for what an automotive technician does on a daily basis is to inspect and diagnose in order to maintain and repair vehicles. So they have to like solving those puzzles to be able to do that. And then finally, I think the last personality trait that’s critical is that the individual has to get satisfaction for, quote-unquote, saving the day. It’s that end piece that they know that they’ve accomplished something for a client that will allow them to continue to do their daily lives. And we all know that we rely on transportation to get us from point A to B. And without somebody to be able to do that, we can’t get from point A to B. And so that’s where getting the satisfaction for saving the day comes in.

Bob: Excellent point. And now, in this environment that we’re in, automotive careers are absolutely critical, national, strategic careers to be in. Now, here’s my three takeaways, Dr. Moore, and if you’d like to add to it, please stop me anywhere along the way.

My takeaways from this call: Our first takeaway from this discussion is that automotive careers are in very high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2028, it’s projected that there will be a need to hire more than 700,000 automotive technicians across the country. In Colorado alone, job growth is expected to be around 14,000 for automotive technicians. And Lincoln Tech has the teachers and the programs to teach students how to be ready to enter the workforce.

My second takeaway from this conversation is that Lincoln Tech in Denver has ongoing start dates that can be found on their website, which is www.lincolntech.edu. Any interested students are encouraged to go to the website to learn more about the programs offered at Lincoln Tech – Denver.

The third is more an imposition on you. I’m going to ask you, if I may, that any questions regarding any of this presentation today or the topics about Lincoln Tech in Denver, Colorado—people could email you directly at kmoore@lincolntech.edu.

I want to thank today’s guest, Dr. Kelly Moore with Lincoln Tech in Denver, Colorado. Also want to thank our audience for taking time out of their very busy and hectic schedules to listen to today’s podcast and urge you to contact Dr. Moore with any and all questions.

On behalf of my colleague, Lee Doubleday, and myself, I want to wish you the best. And be safe and thank you very much for listening.

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