True Calling

Army veteran finds college and career satisfaction at WCCRon Jones, Canton

Ron Jones thought that enrolling at a local four-year university was the right thing for him to do after graduating from high school. It didn’t take him long to realize that being one of a hundred other students in a huge lecture hall wasn’t right for him.

“I was paying thousands of dollars and wasn’t getting the one-on-one time with faculty I needed. I lost my enthusiasm and focus,” he admitted. “That’s when I decided to stop going to school and join the Army.”

Little did Jones know that his Army experience would lead him to his true calling and Washtenaw Community College.

Community college expands skills, employability

After testing high in the field of mechanics, Jones worked as a diesel mechanic while serving his country. The occupation was something, he said, that not only held his interest, but came naturally to him.

“I knew after I was discharged that I wanted to expand my skills and finish a degree,” Jones shared.

“I looked at a few technical schools, but nothing they offered really fit with what I wanted to do. I found the Automotive Service Technology program at WCC and knew it would really work well for me.”

It took Jones just three years to earn his Associate in Automotive Service Technology, at what is now known as WCC’s Advanced Transportation Center, after enrolling in the program in 2011. A research and development position was waiting for him at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor following his graduation.

“WCC thoroughly prepared me to go right into this line of work,” Jones said appreciatively. “Every day I get to learn something new on the job. I’m constantly learning. That’s something I really love about this kind of work.”

Acquiring the knowledge and skills that lead to a satisfying, well-paying vocation is something Jones encourages others to discover at WCC.

“Whether you’re older or younger, it doesn’t matter,” Jones said. “If you want to get a one-on-one learning experience, community college is the way to go.”

The WCC Automotive Service Technology program prepares students for employment in an automotive-related technical position or as a certified automotive technician. Students will diagnose and repair malfunctions in automobile engines, suspension and steering systems, brakes, electrical and electronic systems, and engine drivability issues. This program, which is part of WCC’s Advanced Transportation Center, also offers opportunities to explore vehicle performance, diesel, alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles and to participate in the building of performance vehicles. The program also prepares the student for the State of Michigan Mechanic Certification tests as well as the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certification exams.

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