Girls in Rogers and Mayes Counties encouraged to pursue auto service careers

Girls in Rogers and Mayes Counties encouraged to pursue auto service careers
Posted on 03/06/2018
Oologah student Katy Coshatt performs a multipoint inspection on a vehicle as part of the hands-on activity during the Jobs for the Girls event at Northeast Tech’s Pryor CampusTwenty high school girls visited Northeast Tech’s Pryor Campus last week for a special event designed to educate them about the career opportunities available in the automotive service industry. Known as, “Jobs for the Girls,” the event not only gave the students an inside look at the auto service program at Northeast Tech, it also allowed them the chance to test their skill on vehicle maintenance.

“There are more than 750,000 jobs available right now in this industry across the nation,” said Northeast Tech Instructor Alex Schmidt in his opening presentation to the guests. “These are good paying jobs, and not all of them require you to get your hands dirty.”

After giving a basic overview of the auto service program, the skills required and job outlook, Schmidt then introduced three of his current students who would serve as group leaders for the hands-on activity. Their task, a multi-point inspection on the trainer vehicles used in the programs.

Pryor student Taylor Bostick is currently enrolled in the program, and she served as one of the three team leaders. An admitted tomboy, Bostick shared that she’s always had a fascination with automobiles, and while she had a basic knowledge coming into the program, she’s advanced far beyond what she expected.

“I started with changing a fuel filter, a simple task that I had no idea how to do, and now, over Thanksgiving break, I took apart and rebuilt the engine in my truck,” Bostick said. “You just have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and try things you’ve never done.”

Bostick currently works at Champion Collision, and her long-term plans include attending Oklahoma State University and pursuing a career in mechanical engineering.

Leonna Hatfield and Clara “Frog” Jones were the other two group leaders who walked their guests through all the details of a multipoint inspection. From checking the fluids to pointing out the key components on the undercarriage of the vehicles, they fielded numerous questions from participants like Katy Coshatt of Oologah.

“I love this. It’s very hands-on and there’s a lot of learning involved,” Coshatt said. “I like it that they ask us if we have questions, and I like hearing the information from them. I’ve been discouraged from being a mechanic because I’m a girl, but this is inspiring.”

Cortnie Dennis, also of Oologah, is no stranger to the auto shop and felt right at home while on tour.

“My grandfather is a mechanic, and I love the hands-on aspect of this,” Dennis said. “Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming, they just accept you with open arms.”

Northeast Tech Student Advisor Taylar Odle was one of the key organizers of the event for the Pryor campus, and she is hopeful to see what results come of the girls’ visit.

“Most of these students are still a year away from being able to enroll in our programs, which is why we wanted to catch them now before they begin planning their junior year schedules,” Odle said. “I’m hopeful we’ll see many of these girls back on our campus as students in the future.”

Aside from expanding recruitment efforts, Odle was eager to partner with Schmidt in piloting the Jobs for the Girls event at the Pryor Campus based on the insight provided by new and emerging studies of student behavior.

“Research tells us that girls want to have confidence they can succeed before they try something new, and that’s what we’re hoping to instill in them with this program,” said Odle. “We want them to see they can perform well in careers that might be outside their traditional frame of reference, and as a result have the confidence to pursue their professional dreams.”
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