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Local students find career future in auto and diesel mechanics through NICC

Friday, January 22, 2021

The support the Last-Dollar Scholarship provided lessened the debt burden he might face after graduation.

Northeast Iowa Community College helped two recent high school graduates find success in the career they've always wanted. 

Landen Knapp, a 2019 Diesel Mechanics graduate, and Bo Juran, a 2020 graduate of the College’s Auto Mechanics program, have wanted to do hands-on work fixing engines and vehicles for most of their lives. NICC provided the training they needed to succeed in their new careers.

“I grew up on a farm doing work on tractors and farm equipment, and it kind of stuck with me as something I wanted to do,” Landen explained. “I always figured I'd go to Northeast Iowa Community College. The best part about it was that it was one-year program and it's all hands-on.”

Shortly after graduation Landen found work as a diesel mechanic at BARD Materials in Peosta.

Bo Juran currently works in Manchester as a mechanic at Georgen Auto and a welder-fabricator at Henderson Products, Inc. The Fund for Excellence Scholarship at NICC and the Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship supported his training and education in the Auto Mechanics program. The graduate also earned a welding apprenticeship program certificate as a West Delaware High School senior before he enrolled at the College. The welding apprenticeship was developed in partnership between the high school and NICC.

“Whether it's a soft skill or an actual hard skill, it takes a lot of critical thinking either way and you're going to learn something. Auto mechanics is a growing industry and you're always going to have a job,” Bo said. 

The support the Last-Dollar Scholarship provided lessened the debt burden he might face after graduation.

“Receiving the scholarship freed up money to buy more tools for the Auto Mechanics program, and it cut my student loan debt in half,” Bo explained.

Landen believes that NICC instructors have a wealth of professional experience to draw upon in their teaching and take the time to help students understand lessons and succeed.

“My Diesel Mechanics instructor, Pat Osterhaus, was so good. If students ever had a question, we would just ask and Pat would show you how to do things,” said Landen.