Friday, September 3, 2021
Jerry Goodson, collision repair and refinishing instructor at Chippewa Valley Technical College and World Skills USA coach, was asked to impart his wisdom during the International Bodyshop Industry Symposium earlier this month.
Jerry Goodson knows the ins and outs of the auto repair industry.
The Chippewa Valley Technical College collision repair and refinishing instructor has been in his students’ shoes looking ahead to an uncertain future. But Goodson also knows how far skill and passion can go.
His own technical college education gave him the foundation to become an instructional designer and trainer for the first all-aluminum frame Corvette in 2006, travel to Germany countless times for Audi and become an I-CAR trainer working on vehicles like Land Rover.
“I can show my students, ‘You are graduating with a tech diploma in auto repair. The foundation of what I know started there,’” he said.
When International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS) connected with Goodson to be a panelist during a breakout session September 2, he quickly agreed.
“Our industry has gone through a lot of changes since I’ve been in the industry,” Goodson said. “We’re always retooling and updating our skills. Our goal at CVTC is to work with our advisory committee to produce the best, most skilled workers. One of the most important things I learned when I was a student was regardless of your career path, you will need to become a lifelong learner.”
During the 30-minute presentation, Goodson and four other presenters discussed automotive repair, technology, the skill of graduates entering the field and mentoring opportunities.
People in the auto industry joined to hear the panelists’ thoughts.
Adam Wehling, CVTC dean of agriculture, energy, construction and transportation, said Goodson is highly educated, skilled and has a great passion for the field.
“Jerry (Goodson) believes that career exploration comes in all shapes and sizes,” Wehling said. “He really enjoys being involved in helping people discover the auto collision industry.”
Goodson, 53, who still lives in Hortonville, but stays at his cabin near Ladysmith throughout the week when he’s teaching, graduated from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton with a one-year technical diploma in automotive collision repair in 1987.
With his humble beginnings in the industry, he likes to show students that they can take this education far and wide.
“You earn this degree and you have no idea where it will take you,” Goodson said. “There are opportunities outside of the collision repair shop if that’s what you want. The auto repair industry is increasingly comprised of high-tech jobs.”
Current trends toward collision avoidance systems and the electrification of our global fleet of vehicles will place even more demands on the skill of the workforce, he said.
“That’s why I enjoy teaching. The collision repair industry is diverse. While in school, you’re going to get a pretty good dose of repairing damage, painting, welding, and estimating and even customer service – there are so many different avenues students can take their careers.”
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