MARIETTA, OH (Jan. 16, 2018)–A decades-old friendship gave way to a partnership that has brought benefit to Washington State Community College (WSCC), its students, a local business, and the community.
More than 35 years ago, Matheny Motors and WSCC began collaborating. In the beginning, it was simply students visiting the garage of Matheny Truck Center in Mineral Wells, but the collaboration quickly became so much more.
The partnership started thanks to the friendship between WSCC Auto/Diesel instructor Jack Wilson and Matheny Motors owner Mike Matheny. The two men had been friends since childhood and Wilson realized his students could benefit from the exposure to Matheny’s garage.
“Once we visited Matheny Motors a few times, the partnership took off,” said Joe Nutter, Director of WSCC’s Auto/Diesel program. “Now we do field trips to Matheny Motors about two times a year.”
In addition to the hands-on visits to the Matheny Truck Center, the collaborative partnership has grown to include the dealership loaning the college new commercial trucks for students to use in class. In fact, in October, Matheny Motors loaned a new $130,000 2018 Freightliner Cascadia to the program for students to use.
“We use it for just about every class that we have,” said Nutter. “We hook scan tools up to it and students check for codes so that they can learn about the engine, fuel systems, and brakes.”
Mike Matheny said that for the past 10-15 years they’ve tried to bring a new truck several times a year and leave it for a few weeks at a time for students to learn from and do demonstrations on.
With the rising number of technicians retiring, the need for trained technicians has been on the rise in order to fill the gap.
“Our enrollment is going up, but the demand is so great that we can’t supply enough students to meet the need for technicians,” Nutter confirmed. “Matheny Motors has always been looking to help us train better technicians.”
Matheny, who has also served on the WSCC Advisory Board for more than 15 years, wants to be involved in the college and prepare students for their future careers. On any given year, one to four WSCC students can shadow employees at different Matheny Motors locations. Students spend time each week shadowing technicians and mechanics in the heavy duty shop or light duty part of the business.
“WSCC students come to us very prepared and we just finish polishing the stone, so to speak,” said Matheny. “They come in with a broad knowledge and we try to give them more detailed information. It’s important to us because these students live close to our dealerships, so they don’t have to travel as far to do training.”
Matheny added that WSCC students are a qualified and close resource for the company to hire new employees from rather than sourcing from locations farther away. “For some employees, moving to a different city is a concern. So being able to hire new employees locally has been a convenience for them and for us.”
He added that Matheny Motors has hired approximately 12 WSCC graduates who have worked in various departments in the recent years.
“The instructors in the Auto/Diesel program at WSCC have been very accommodating and are invested in their jobs,” said Matheny. “The enthusiasm they maintain reflects in their students and makes them great employees at Matheny Motors.”
Matheny Motors is among an engaged group of businesses and organizations that WSCC partners with to provide its students with valuable experience and hands-on learning opportunities. These industry-specific partnerships benefit students through real-world applications and help WSCC fuel the future of the Mid-Ohio Valley by providing workforce development in more than 50 certificate and associate degree programs.
Follow WSCC’s new Partnership Spotlight series by using #WSCCpartnerships.
For more than 45 years, Washington State Community College has provided residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley the opportunity to realize dreams, to enhance skills, and to broaden understanding. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to move your life in a new direction, Washington State has the classes to suit your needs. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.