Flint, MI—Ethan Stickler hopes to be a master technician one day, and as he worked on a customer’s car during Mott Community College’s (MCC) Service Floor class, he said the course was helping him reach that goal.
“This is a learning experience for me,” said Stickler, who also works as a lube technician at a car repair shop in Grand Blanc, Mich. “I’ve learned a lot of in-person skills.”
MCC’s Service Floor course offers students experience in repairing cars, but it also offers Flint and other area residents bookable, discounted services.
From inspection to diagnosis and repairs, the services performed by students cost $10 per vehicle each day, along with the costs of parts that may be installed, according to a MCC press release.
But beyond benefitting the community, students told Flint Beat they’re grateful for the real-world experience the class offers them.
“Some of us haven’t actually worked in a shop before,” said Jacob Wilhelm-Marsik during a Feb. 10 class. “The course is supposed to simulate a shop. We have to show up on time. We have to work on cars. We have to deal with customer complaints, all that stuff.”
Wilhelm-Marsik spoke over the clangs of classmates’ tools as he worked on his first major project that afternoon—fixing an MCC employee’s vehicle with a leaky oil cooler and pulsations on the brake pedal.
MCC’s Service Floor course has been around since 2011, but its services for customers only recently restarted in the 2023 winter semester after pausing due to COVID-19.
Stickler noted that though some of the class’s tasks can get difficult—he’d been working on removing a vehicle’s wheel bearings that afternoon—he still enjoys the undertaking.
“As much of a struggle as it has been, it’s been fun,” Stickler said.
Service Floor students are supervised by certified instructors like Dave Butke. Butke said repairs available within the course, which accommodates most cars with model years between 2013 to 2023, include minor engine and electrical work, as well as repairs related to steering, suspension and brakes.
“We’re providing a great service to our community,” Butke said. “It’s very expensive to get cars fixed now, and this really can help a lot of people within the community.”
Aside from serving the public, Butke said the class helps students sharpen their skills, and seeing students apply those skills is one of the most gratifying aspects of his job.
“Oftentimes they may be unsure of themselves, a lack of confidence in actually making repairs,” Butke said. “Coming here and then actually doing this and having a whole day to do live repairs on vehicles, it builds confidence. And that’s key.”
While the course’s service appointments are fully booked for the winter semester, MCC will begin accepting appointments for the summer semester on April 24, 2023, with the first day of service starting on May 12, according to the college’s automotive office.
To schedule a service appointment, people can call MCC’s automotive office at 810-762-0575 or email email@example.com.