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10 | Transportation Today Wisconsin™                                                      Online Edition:

                Yes We Can! D.C. Everest Student Finding Success in Apprenticeship

                                                                                others, to identify room for improvement and   Knowing how to improvise and use different
                                                                                is overall a great member of the team.” Further,   tools  can  be  a  benefit.”  Ultimately,  she  has
                                                                                Harmony’s  enthusiasm  has  helped  Wooster’s   learned that perseverance pays off. The most
                                                                                “expand  on  and  grow  our  overall  training   rewarding aspect thus far has been “completing
                                                                                procedures. We have adapted to provide even   a job by myself and feeling the pride of learn-
                                                                                further  ’in  house’  hands-on  training  that  will   ing new things and being able to help others.
                                                                                better set up the future of our workforce.” We   The work experience is a good challenge every
                                                                                utilize  team  members’  ideas  and  feedback  to   time  and  it’s  nice  to  make  the  connection
                                                                                improve the business, therefore Harmony is a   between what I’m learning at school with what
                                                                                good fit for the automotive shop. As Stephanie   I do in the workplace.”
                                                                                notes, “Harmony is extremely motivated and   Stephanie  is  eager  to  continue  helping
                                                                                always brings new ideas to the table.”  young  students  explore  career  opportuni-
                                                                                   Just as importantly, Harmony is develop-  ties. “It’s a great way for us to work within
                                                                                ing critical “soft skills” — customer service   the community to not only offer employment
                                                                                and  professional  collaboration,  for  example.   opportunities for students but to set them up
                                                                                “Youth Apprentices  are  provided  the  oppor-  for  their  future  careers.”  Harmony’s  eager-
                                                                                tunity to have a unique experience blending   ness, curiosity, and professionalism also have
                                                                                their  education  and  real-world  practice  for   had a positive impact on Wooster’s. “Students
                                                                                their  potential  future  careers.  Students  work   like Harmony love to learn new things every
                                                                                on  communication  skills,  employability,   day in a field that they already have interest in.
                                                                                trade skills and more while becoming active   We are now focusing even more on expand-
        Michelle Rothmeyer                  in  Consumer  Care  Care  as  a  sophomore  and   members of the workforce,” notes Stephanie.   ing our ability to help more interested students
        Coordinator of Communications       then Automotive Power Train Systems, Small   “Harmony gets along well with customers and   like her.”
        D.C. Everest Area School District   Engines,  and  Introduction  to  Welding  and   coworkers while pushing herself to learn new   When asked what she would say to other
            Stephanie  Stanke,  a  lifelong  automotive   Machining for her junior year. The dCE Senior   things. We are thrilled to have her as part of   businesses  considering  Youth  Apprenticeship
                                                                                                                   opportunities, Stephanie was quick to note that
                                                                                our team.”
        enthusiast, opened Wooster’s Garage in 2017   High’s new six-bay Automotive Lab has pro-  Both  Harmony  and  Stephanie  recog-  an apprenticeship program not only enhances
        becoming one of very few female automotive   vided  her  with  unique  hands-on  learning   nize  the  importance  of  building  professional   a  student’s  education  and  work  experiences,
        repair  shop  owners  in  the  region.  She  grew   opportunities, but Harmony sought to expand   relationships  as  part  of  the  apprenticeship   it  provides  “businesses  or  organizations  with
        up  in  a  family  of  auto  enthusiasts/auto  shop   her  horizons  and  gain  insights  into  how  an   experience as well. Looking ahead, Harmony   quality candidates who are currently interested
        owners, and in high school enrolled in automo-  automotive shop runs as a Youth Apprentice.   is exploring the idea of pursuing a degree in the   in  that  line  of  work.  The  exposure  to  those
        tive courses. upon graduating, she set out to   As  an  apprentice,  Harmony  has  the   Automotive  Technology  field  where  she  can   work environments and ability for the students
        learn everything she could about the industry   opportunity to be mentored by professionals,   capitalize on the dual enrollment credits she has   to  find  the  type  of  employment  they  enjoy
        and the customers it serves, by working in a   earn an income, learn skills that transfer to the   earned and her apprenticeship experience. “The   creates a unique advantage for the workforce.
        wide  variety  of  roles  within  the  automotive   classroom (and vice versa), and develop rela-  Youth Apprenticeship program is giving me a   I would recommend any business or organiza-
        industry.  In  2012  she  rounded  out  her  expe-  tionships within her area of interest. Harmony   jump start on my career not only by helping me   tion  considering  apprenticeship  opportunities
        riences  by  earning  an  associate's  degree  in   performs  oil  changes,  removes  and  replaces   learn specific skills, but by meeting people in   to invest their time in those programs and see
        Automotive Technology.              brake  pads  and  rotors,  and  is  learning  to   the  industry.” Adds  Stephanie,  “The  program   the potential within these students.”
            What  struck  Stephanie  during  her  years   inspect  and  diagnose  vehicle  problems.  The   provides an opportunity for both the business
        of working within the industry was the level   latter,  she  notes,  “matters  because  customer   and the apprentice to expand their knowledge,
        of  trepidation  customers  felt  concerning   trust and safety are number one. Customers are   create  long  term  relationships,  and  provide
        the  repairs  and  services  completed  on  their   like family in a way — you want to make sure   products and services to their cus-
        vehicles. She set out to change that when she   you're  not  missing  anything  and  you’re  per-  tomers while developing the skills
        established  her  own  business.  To  bridge  the   forming great work. Most people don't realize   of  the  next  generations  in  their
        gap  between  customers  and  technicians  the   the importance of maintenance and repair and   industry.”
        shop works diligently to make customers feel   the overall effect it can have on how the vehicle   of  course,  apprentices  also
        comfortable about what they are investing in   runs and its efficiency.”  face  —  and  overcome  —  chal-
        and driving — offering, for example, monthly   The  opportunity  to  learn  within  a  shop   lenges. For Harmony, one of those
        auto  clinics  to  help  customers  better  under-  environment has clearly had a positive impact   challenges  has  been  patience.
        stand their vehicles. She’s also working on a   on Harmony. “This is a chance to learn hands-  “You  can't  rush  into  something
        book based on the insights she’s gained at her   on, which is easier for me to grasp versus just   you  don't  have  experience  with.
        customer  auto  clinics.  Further,  she  serves  as   reading  about  it.  The  concepts  really  stick,”   I  need  to  slow  down,  think  criti-
        a  role  model  for  other  female  entrepreneurs,   she states.  The breadth of what she can learn   cally,  ask  questions  and  listen
        serving as a guest speaker who addresses what   also has been one of the biggest surprises of   so  I  can  remember  new  things
        it’s like to work within a male-dominated field.   the experience thus far. “There is always more   and  understand  the  details  of  the
            When d.C. Everest Community Partner-  you can learn from being a part of the automo-  customers' concerns and the tech-
        ship Coordinator rose Matthie met Harmony   tive industry from repair and maintenance to   nicians'  instructions.”  Another  is
        Hommerding,  a  sophomore  at  d.C.  Everest   performance  and  ability.  Having  experienced   that  the  automotive  industry,  and
        Senior  High  with  a  marked  interest  in  cars,   workplace mentors like Joe and Steph makes it   classrooms, tend to be dominated
        she immediately thought of Stephanie’s busi-  very helpful,” she adds.  by males. “The gender stereotype
        ness as an ideal Youth Apprenticeship partner.   According to Stephanie, Harmony’s pro-  in  the  automotive  industry  forces
        Harmony’s interest in the automotive industry   fessional curiosity is an asset. “Harmony has   females to 'be more, to be equal' —
        was piqued by mutual friends who had a love   always  been  eager  to  learn,  participate,  and   you need to have more knowledge
        of cars and the history behind the car culture.   provide her own ideas to the business. She has   to prove you are equal,” observes
        Similar to Stephanie, Harmony is pursuing her   a positive attitude and works extremely hard to   Harmony. And, she adds, “having
        automotive interest by enrolling in Automotive   learn about all of the different positions here.   less physical strength as a female
        Technology career track courses. She enrolled   She is always willing to move around and help
                                                                                can  also  be  a  challenge  at  times.
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