How many auto body students can say they’ve had professional auto body experience before obtaining a job in the field? Not many. D&S Automotive [D&S] in Mentor, Ohio is investing in the future of auto body professionals by providing an apprentice program at the various D&S professional facilities.
D&S recruits apprentices from Auburn Career Center where students who have enthusiasm for the field and recommendations from their professors are introduced to the D&S apprentice program. With the skills and techniques learned at Auburn, apprentices come in with the knowledge that sets them up for an intensive apprenticeship program. They learn everything, from tear down, body work, and framework, to refinishing, final reassembly and front-office estimating.
Since the beginning, six local auto body technician students have entered the program. Nearly every apprentice has gone on to work at D&S Automotive, with one taking a job at another local body shop.
Two recent graduates from the program, Nick Holberg and Noah Mair, have joined the growing list of graduates hired by D&S Automotive. The best part of the program for them was rooted in the experience. The two expanded their skill set put into place by Auburn Career Center and gained real world experience in a professional shop setting. D&S Automotive is happy to have them be a part of our team.
The two men’s advice for those looking to get into the program is, “Do it!” Holberg and Mair both commented saying, “It’s not easy, but the hard work pays off and you learn more here than you would anywhere else.” Out of everything the program has taught them, the young men enjoy refinishing best.
After talking to CJ Paterniti who started the program, it was clear why he decided it was time for D&S to teach these kids. “Four or five years ago I looked at my employee group and I noticed that my largest asset is my employees,” CJ stated. “I looked at that and said, “Wow. Everyone is over 50. I’m going to have a big problem in 14 years.” That was the reason why I decided to be a partner with Auburn Career Center, trying to get these kids into the shop and learning from us.”
D&S Automotive is proud to have these gentlemen on staff. The company looks forward to watching them continue to grow and be a part of D&S’ growth as a team.