It’s amazing how a donation from a company can open the door for students to learn with a hands-on approach.
Kenworth Truck Company of Chillicothe has given a donation of a truck cab to the AutoBody Program at the Scioto County Career and Technical Center(SCCTC), and with this donation, students will have an opportunity to use the truck cab in their world of learning.
Eli Riggs is the AutoBody Instructor and this is his second year at the SCCTC. He also owns a repair shop of his own in Lathem in Pike County, he is from this area and has had shops in this area as well. “The big thing that this cab will do for us, it’s kind of like an artist’ canvas,” Riggs said. “We’re going to use it just for the paintwork, just to teach them how to paint. Instead of taking cars and destroying them and fixing them up and painting them, which we’ll still do, when we are ready to do the paintwork training, we’ll put them on that. It’s big enough that by the time they go around that thing, they will be a ‘perfect’ painter.”
In his program, Riggs says they weld, do mechanical work, air condition work, of course, the painting, framework, just all vehicle work. He said when his students graduate, they will be a full AutoBody Technician, they should be able to do it all. “Whenever they get done, they get the knowledge to get out in the AutoBody world of work and they can proceed from there.” He said they give them ASC training and OSHA.
Riggs said that in December they are going to have color training on how to shade paint with Metalux, their paint distributor. “It’s hard to get a color match on older cars and they teach them how to shade and make it match,” Riggs said. “It’s a very hard thing to do and if they find a student that is really really good at it companies would hire them in a minute.”
Riggs has four girls in his junior class this year, and when asked how they all got along, he said, “they actually get along really well, they just get along, they are just buddies. There are more and more women getting into these fields, because of the money. One of the news stations was saying that in the next five years they are going to have to employ 42,000 people to work on cars.”
Riggs said they have been working with Kenworth since last year on getting a cab. “Me and Tracy DePugh (Kenworth), have been talking since last year about getting them in here and I actually had one of my workers from my shop go and pick them up, we delivered one to the Ross County Trade school and then the one here,” he said. “We got to talking and he asked if I would be interested in a cab and I said ‘Absolutely!’ so it’s a good thing. They are going to let us play with it and we may even come up with a design of paintwork that they may like for their trucks.”
“I can see all kinds of designs we can do on this and patterns, the students will do that, then take pictures, and then we’ll change it up and do another one, keep it going for them, it’s something we can sand down and do it over, Riggs said.” He said he was also talking with Kenworth about if they see what the students can do they will help them in getting hired.
The Superintendent of the SCCTC, Kyle Copley was excited about the donation. “I’m really excited to have Mr. Riggs here instructing our kids. I think that he’s done an excellent job with our kids, I think if they just listen and learn from him, they have a great chance for employment and training opportunities out there,” Copley said “He can lead them to where they want to go in this industry of AutoBody. I’m just really proud of what this program has become, and really want to thank Kenworth and Mr. Riggs for getting this project for our kids. I think will be a great great thing.”
Speaking with two of the juniors in Rigg’s class, First of all, Nathaniel Copeland, who was just recently named, ‘Student of the Week. “I’ve learned a lot about AutoBody fixing cars and stuff like that and I’m enjoying myself,” Copeland said. He said he’d much rather be doing this than sitting in a classroom all day. “I’m really excited for this truck and learning how to paint, paint and primer. I really like to work on cars and wanted to learn how to fix cars.”
Riggs said the main reason he chose Copeland for Student of the Month is that he is always trying to focus on working and doing the right thing. “What puts him from the rest of the students is, from the time he gets here, he is constantly non-stop, until he leaves, constantly working,” Riggs said. “He puts his safety gear on and he’s always where he needs to be. I let the class vote on him from a few others. He is a good worker.”
The second junior was Alli O’Brien. “I want to show the boys that girls can do the same thing, just like they can with stuff. My favorite part of this class, I think, will be painting and stuff, I’m really excited about that,” O’Brien said. “My boyfriend works with his dad and he has a shop and he does the same thing and he wants me to work there.” Both of these juniors said that in the short time they have been there, they have learned a lot and that Riggs is a good teacher. “He’s a great teacher, and he’s funny too,” O’Brien said.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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