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From Tinkering to a Career

Cory Polsgrove has always enjoyed tinkering around with cars and trucks, even as a high school student in Clinton, KY.

When he got the opportunity to go back to school, he knew exactly what career he wanted to pursue and enrolled in West Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges Automotive Technology program. I like the challenge of figuring out what the problem is on a vehicle and being able to fix it, said Polsgrove, who hopes to one day own his own automotive shop.

Recently, Polsgrove, 35, was among several students in the automotive technology program who have honed their skills while also repairing a 1997 Acura for a local resident who plans to give the car as a gift to a relative. The estimated total labor value for repairing the car, which is being provided for free by the students, is about $1,600.

While working on the Acura is special, Polsgrove said he knows the importance of doing the best job he can do on all vehicles he works on. The way I look at it when you are working on anyone's vehicle you are taking their life in your hands, he said.

WKCTC automotive technologyThe Automotive Technology program was established at WKCTC in August 2011. This year will mark the first graduating class to complete the two-year program, said Bob Gunn, instructor and program coordinator. The automotive repair field is great for anyone wanting a different scenario at work each day, especially if they have formal training in several repair areas, Gunn said. A person can never get bored in the automotive field, because the product is so broad. For example one day the work may all be pickups and the next day all small economy cars.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor, automotive technicians make on average about $ 17.00 dollars an hour. It may take a graduate a few years to achieve this average, Gunn said. However formal education should help to increase the wage potential and qualify someone to advance into a management position if desired.

Polsgrove said automotive technicians need to have good diagnostic skills, because the cost of parts is getting higher every day. So you want to know for sure that the parts you are putting on are going to fix the problem, he said.

Polsgrove said the program at the Skilled Craft Training Center was perfect for his needs. The program at WKCTC has state of the art equipment and a very knowledgeable instructor. It is close to home so I didn't have to relocate my family to be able to attend, he said.

Polsgrove, who is raising two young boys with his wife, Trisha, expects to complete an Associate in Applied Science degree in automotive technology later this year.

Enrollment is underway for the automotive technology program. For more information about contact Bob Gunn at 270-856-2410 or via e-mail at