Spotlight on the Career Center

  • Auto Collision Repair is the practice of fixing damaged car structures. Auto body technicians use special tools and equipment to repair body parts and refinish interiors, exteriors and spoiled metal frames of vehicles. They handle dents, scratches and more extensive damage caused by everyday use and accidents. Our eighth article in our series, “Spotlight on the Career Center,” will tell how a student used the skills he learned in auto collision for things other than cars.

    Nate Turner is a 2014 graduate of the Career Center.  He came to the Career Center to be involved in a learning environment that would allow him to better himself at what he wanted to achieve.  Nate decided to come to the Career Center when the students from Little Orleans were brought back to Allegany County.

    Nate is a musician at heart.  He used the skills he learned under Mr. Denny Johnson to build and paint guitars in his spare time.  At the Career Center, Nate was a member of the Guitar Club under the direction of Eric Baker.  This was one of the spotlights for Nate.  “After putting in a hard week’s worth of work in both my academics and skill area, I was able to bring in my guitar and play for the class,” said Nate. 

    Nate’s first job out of high school was working at Ford as a painter.  That was a big learning experience for Nate.  Getting to see what it was like in the day-to-day body shop was a bit of a learning curve.  The good thing about it was he had the opportunity to return to school and talk with Mr. Johnson and ask questions.  “He was always there to listen and do anything he could to help.”  Nate started working at his first job in the field roughly three months after graduation.

    The Collision Repair and Refinishing Program incorporates the applied academic and workplace skills for each of the required collision repairing, refinishing and painting areas utilizing the I-CAR Live Curriculum.  Students completing the program will become ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified.  An ASE program certification is based on the recommendations of the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). This non-profit organization examines the structure and resources of training programs and evaluates them against nationally-accepted standards of quality. A student may also articulate 16 credits to Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA.

     Nate’s certification was a big help when applying for a job in the automotive industry.  Applying at a body shop, employers definitely looked for the ASE certification.  The second thing that helped Nate was his portfolio.  “I utilize my portfolio to this day!  It’s helped me get three jobs.  It definitely has come in handy,” Nate added.

    Nate currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, and he is trying to move closer to Austin due to its music scene.  He has worked at a few different body shops in Texas.  He learned a lot about the skill that he was involved in, along with furthering himself in his academics as well.  The most important thing he gained was the “real life” experience from his instructors.

    Nate shares, “I would highly recommend the Career Center to any incoming junior for a couple of reasons.  This is a place where you can get hands-on experiences in whatever skill you are interested in; the sky’s the limit.  If you have the initiative and desire to want to achieve your goals, I am 100% confident you would enjoy the Career Center.  My personal experience showed me that hard work does indeed pay off, and if you enjoy what you are doing, it’s no long considered work.”

    Nate’s family still lives in Maryland.


    Author:  Jemma Crowe

    Editor:  Pamela Bittner



  • For questions or comments you can contact the Career Center at 301-729-6486.