1 year ago

North Central Kansas Technical College's Tools & Tech 2016


IT'S NEVER TOO LATE Non-Traditional Student Works His Way to His Dream Job

NCK Tech instructors are positive and real encouraging. I'm blessed to be able to go to a school of this caliber. “Jesse Gil, Automotive Technology Since childhood Jesus Gil—known as Jesse — has enjoyed working on cars. It started as a way to spend time with his father and brother. He learned a lot from his family, then more on his own by tinkering on vehicles without formal training. Somewhere along the way, working as an auto mechanic became Jesse’s dream job. "All my life I've been working on vehicles," he said. "I knew that's what I wanted to do, but I never pursued it. Life just kept getting in the way." For Jesse, at age 37, that meant 19 long years of admiring cars while focusing on other work. Though he had a steady job as a roofer, the thought of working as an automotive technician was always on his mind. He kept wondering if he would ever be able to pursue his dream. Then he looked into it at NCK Tech and found a way. "I was really nervous, I was like 'I'm too old to go to school.' I had so many 'what-ifs' but it was laying heavily on me," he said. But after talking to his wife, Leona, who supported him from day one, he enrolled in the Automotive Technology program on NCK Tech's Hays campus. "Once I did it, I was so glad. I’d always wanted to pursue my passion," he said. His instructor and department chair, Mark Rathbun, was impressed by Jesse’s knowledge and work skills. "He's really, really good. Very conscientious and not afraid to try anything," Rathbun said. "If you ask him to do a job, he's really eager and he sticks with it until he gets it right." Aside from learning from relatives, Jesse said much of his automotive knowledge, prior to attending NCK Tech, had been gained through trial and error. Rather than taking his vehicles to an auto shop, he fixed them himself, even if it took a little longer. Now, as a result of his training, he has been given the chance to see how things can be done differently. "I was doing it the hard way all this time. I'm learning the right ways now with computers and how to diagnose," he offered. Jesse is on track to graduate with an associate degree in May of 2017. He’s committed to improving himself and is excited about his experience. “I love what I’m learning and what NCK Tech has to offer! I’m so glad I made this decision and can’t wait see what doors open up for me in the future!” Jesse and his wife are hopeful he can launch his career in automotive technology by landing a great job in the Hays area. However, they are prepared to go wherever the best opportunity arises. Thanks to the investment he made in himself, his determination, and the training he’s receiving at NCK Tech, Jesse Gil will soon be “living the dream!” | 13

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