Students choose education over skilled trade jobs

Jen Rainey | Collegio Reporter

Several career paths like automotive repair or factory work don’t require any college experience yet several students going into these fields have chosen to attend PSU in order to gain an advantage and open higher-level positions.
“With a four-year degree in automotive technology, I’ll be more of a manager,” said Matthew Fangman, junior in automotive technology.
Fangman says he is studying to be a manager for an automotive shop that works on diesel and heavy equipment. Most of the classes Fangman takes are based on theories instead of practical hands-on experience.
“We learn about why stuff is done the way it is,” Fangman said. “This will help me explain to employees later on why to fix something a certain way and to motivate them.”
Fangman grew up on a farm in Seneca, and his uncle owns an automotive shop. He says he was involved in automotive technology in high school. Fangman says Pittsburg State donated some cars to his high school to assist students who were learning how to fix them. All of these factors led him to attend PSU after graduating from high school.
“I feel the automotive program does well at helping their students,” Fangman said. “Pittsburg State is well known around the country with a lot of the types of companies in this field.”
Fangman says he has had two internships since coming to Pitt State. He interned with a company called Kiewit out of Dallas, Texas, last spring. Fangman says he spent the summer traveling the Midwest, going to various training dealerships for John Deere.
Charles Neises says attending Pittsburg State has helped get his name out to various companies, something he couldn’t have done had he not gone to college.
“Staff and faculty will help send your name to companies or take you to different conferences that have companies who are looking for people in this field,” said Neises, senior in manufacturing engineering technology.
Neises says attending a university in his field has helped him develop connections with other engineers to learn and develop particle experiences. He says he has been able to take classes at Pittsburg State that he wouldn’t have been able to take at a trade school. These include principles of metal casting, heat treat and metal energy, and casting and design simulation. These are lab and lecture classes that dig deeper into the subject than one typically experiences at a trade school or when learning on their own.
“You’re surrounded by castings every day and you don’t realize how they’re manufactured until you start learning the processes,” Neises said. “You get these experiences from these classes.”
Neises says that being involved in the manufacturing program at Pittsburg State will help him become a process engineer, which means he will manage a crew of workers who lack the same education.
“I’ll be assigned a specific job to follow from design to amplification,” Neises said.
Neises says he will graduate in May and feels confident about the job outlook in his field.
“I feel proud to graduate in this field and the job outlook looks a lot brighter than two years ago,” Neises said. “The economy has turned around and companies are starting to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States instead of sending them overseas.”

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