A Hollander Excellence Interview: Tom Phillips & Hennepin Technical College (Part 2)
On February 27th, Hollander Excellence sat down with Tom Phillips of Hennepin Technical College, of Brooklyn Park, MN. The conversation ranged a variety of topics including: Hennepin Tech’s curriculum, what they are doing to equip the next generation of auto mechanics, job placement, partnership with local industry and even – his favorite car. If you missed Part 1, be sure to read it here.
Hollander Excellence: Let me jump on that for a second, an you speak to the partnerships that Hennepin Tech has with local business, local industry and the segway from student to professional?
Tom: When our students graduate from school, it’s pretty much 100% job offers from these jobs. For these shops, this is their chance to try this student out for a couple of months. The students go out there and demonstrate what they’ve learned. I probably get a phone call or maybe three phone calls in a month from these shops requesting our students. So there’s no shortage of jobs and careers for this. There are probably about 70 percent of those people that are 40 and over maybe 60 percent. And I was just at a shop the other day that out of the 15 technicians, there were two of them that are retiring before summer is over.
Hollander Excellence: Wow.
Tom: That move of the baby boomers is moving out and this is a great opportunity for these people to be able to come in, step into a stop, plus the cars are becoming more and more technical. They’re cool cars, they go fast, they look cool, they have all kinds of neat stuff in them, there’s probably 13 to 14 computers in an average new car right now which gives that technical knowledge that they might already have.
Hollander Excellence: Right. It’s amazing, it does seem like almost every mechanical component of a car now a days has turned electrical.
Tom: Yeah, so these kids that grew up with computers that went to school, it’s a second nature thing. This is a great opportunity especially if they like cars. It’s a great opportunity for them to come in and step up. I’m an older guy so I had to learn all of that stuff a long time ago or learn that stuff as it came along but somebody that’s started off with this, it’s just so instinctual that I think [my kids] could go through things and actually close their eyes and be able to type stuff.
Hollander Excellence: [laugh]
Tom: Truly, I think that really would give them a leg up because these people that are retiring, they’re like me as far as the technology. They can get their way through it, but it isn’t an instinctual thing, whereas I think it is with this younger generation.
Hollander Excellence: Probably that and 100 percent job placement rate are two good incentives!