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High school students are choosing trade school over going to college

Posted at 6:24 PM, Aug 17, 2022

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — High school students are using skills learned at the Erie 1 BOCES Potter Career and Technical Center to prepare for a career as auto technicians.

"If you don't know ask," said Luke Marshall, student worker. "There are people that you work with everyday that know more than you and if you don't know ask somebody because they know the answer and it's cool because you can learn something new."

Luke Marshall is about to begin heading into his senior year but has had a passion for cars since he was a child.

"I started when I was younger, tinkering with small engines and really liked playing with motors," said Marshall.

The automotive program gives juniors and seniors a direct path to work in the industry. The service director at Towne Ford, Jay Lucernoni said there is no better time to get students in the garage.

"There's plenty of opportunity right now," said Lucernoni. "The numbers as far as the technician shortage goes as far as nationally are anywhere from 200 to 400,000 openings for skilled technicians."

Charles Shvelin has worked in the automotive industry for 21 years. Shevlin said the there have been several technological advances within the business that younger students seem to learn quicker.

"They're already used to technology and stuff like that with cars getting more and more technical they just fir right in," said Shevlin.

Lucernoni told 7 News being apart of this program can get students working sooner and get them higher pay. He said most students will start out making $25,000 to $30,000 a year and could see increases after the first five years.

"Master technicians that are highly proficient and highly skilled can earn $80, $90, $100,000 a year pretty easily, without a college education," said Lucernoni.

Shevlin said being an autp technician makes you a rare breed.

"When you fix a car that most people can't fix, you did the impossible," said Shevlin.

Shevlin also told 7 News he loves passing the feeling on to generations to come.

"You see that diamond and you make it you polish it up and its really good," said Shevlin. "I'm like a proud father."

"Four year college or two year college isn't for everybody," said Marshall. "You know a lot of people like using their hands and getting dirty and having fun but you just got to try it to see if you like it."