Colorado Mountain College offering auto classes
GYPSUM, Colorado – Recessionary layoffs hit Gypsum resident and father Brooke Tulk hard. In April 2009, the 40-year-old lost his sales job of five years at a local lumber yard.Searching for work, Tulk thought of his dream of working on cars, but he didn’t want to relocate his family for automotive classes on the Front Range, in Grand Junction or in Wyoming.”I’ve always had an interest in cars. It’s always kind of been in the back of my mind that was something that I wanted to do,” Tulk said.Last fall, Tulk learned of a new program in automotive technology for adult students through Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. Auto tech had long been available for high school students but not for adult learners in the region. The college now partners with Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum to provide a well-equipped learning shop. A portion of the instruction is online.”When the CMC program opened up, it was too good to be true,” said Tulk, who completed two semesters of training so far. “I enjoyed it a lot. The class size is small, so everybody gets enough attention. Being in district, tuition is great. Compared to other programs, it’s a bargain.”Tulk and fellow CMC student Ian Talbot now work at Dutch Automotive in Minturn. Shop owner Josh Dutcher said nothing can substitute for many years on the job as an auto mechanic, but the college experience helped the two students get their feet in the door at his shop. He said taking college automotive classes showed the students were serious about a career in the field and were committed to learning.The Colorado Mountain College auto classes are taught by Associate Professor Jay Taylor, a master technician certified through the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Taylor owned auto shops in Eagle for 25 years.”Our whole goal is to put people to work,” Taylor said. “There are just so many jobs out there, support staff, office manager, sales, service writing and parts. They all have to understand the language.”The associate professor said the occupational certificate program also aids auto shop owners who want to employ more knowledgeable workers.He said the program has attracted students from ages 20s to mid-50s.Classes for the Steering and Suspension certificate start Aug. 30, with the first course, Auto Shop Orientation, followed by Steering & Suspension I which starts Oct. 12. Call the campus in Edwards at 569-2900 for more information.