December 5, 2022


Born to perform

April 6 – Ivy Tech automotive fair a chance to explore career | Fwbusiness

2 min read


Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne’s automotive career fairs are a chance for local companies to find much-needed talent.

Ivy Tech hosted companies April 4 and 5 at its North Campus’ The Steel Dynamics, Inc. Keith E. Busse Technology Center.

Ivy Tech Department Chair of Automotive Technology Robert Huffman said a shortage of automotive technicians has been around since he’s entered the field in 1987.

“If you wanted a job and you weren’t happy where you were working at, you could go down the street and be working the next day,” Huffman said.

Many of the students in the program already are working with companies as apprentices.

Student Sabrina Al-Kadhimi works for Ben Davis Chevrolet while classmate Natalie Barcalow at Fox & Fox.

The Ivy Tech program includes working on students’ and customers’ vehicles.

“Last week I had my car in here. We did spark plugs, oil change,” said Al-Kadhimi, who comes from an amateur race car driving family but started in Ivy Tech’s nursing program before switching to automotive. “Next week we’re changing the thermostat.”

Barcalow, who’s embarrassed to admit that the “Transformers” films got her interested in vehicles, started learning from her dad and a friend and “ended up absolutely obsessed.”

She’s now the go-to person to call by her family when there’s vehicle trouble.

“They’ll call me in the middle of the night, ‘It’s making a weird noise.’”

The two were intrigued by Kelley Automotive’s offer to new employees to provide uniforms and tools.

“We have a tool stipend,” Joe Glass, service manager of Tom Kelley Cadillac, said.

The company will pay for tool worth about $800 for the technician to use during the first year of employment, Taylor Straub, human resources manager and recruiter, said. If they continue on with Kelley, the employee then can own the tools.

The company has a lot of technicians who are nearing retirement. Glass said he has six technicians and two apprentices, “but always looking for more,” he said.


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