Program: Automotive Technology
Thanks to an astute teacher who recognized and encouraged her ability, Tara Rogers found the right program to fuel her career with one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers.
While still in high school, Rogers took an automotive class for “personal bettering.” Teacher Rusty Rayburn, an L&C alum, noticed her interest.
“He saw my passion and aspiration to learn more about automotive,” Rogers said. “He informed me of my potential in the industry.”
Rogers explains there’s more to the automotive industry than wrenching on cars.
“The automotive industry is ever-growing and evolving and there will always be countless opportunities within it,” Rogers said. “It can encompass different fields that most people wouldn’t expect.”
Rogers, 24, of Belleville, earned an Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology from L&C in 2016. From there, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Technology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is currently working on a Master of Science Technology with an emphasis on Automotive Technology from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS.
Rogers’ participation in the L&C Automotive Technology program led her to an internship at V8 Speed & Resto Shop in Red Bud, which turned into a part-time job.
“I was learning so much about every aspect of auto restoration from mechanical and electrical repairs, to paint, fabrication and body work,” Rogers said. “It was truly a great experience that I would not have sought out if not for L&C.”
Rogers took her experience and education and earned a summer internship with General Motors while still a junior at SIUC. She became part of GM’s Customer Care and Aftersales (CCA) sector. She was offered a full-time CCA position in May 2018. After relocating to Michigan, she began participation in the company’s Technical Rotation and Career Knowledge Program (TRACK). TRACK allows her to rotate to a new position every year for three years and will give her the opportunity to choose one of the previous positions or choose a new permanent position within CCA.
Rogers’ goal is to become a team leader at GM.
“L&C’s Automotive Technology program has given me a lot of real-life, hands-on experiences in a shop environment,” Rogers said. “This initially helped me earn my internship (turned part-time job) at V8 Speed & Resto Shop, which is where I feel I learned the most and applied what I already learned from L&C.”
Accomplishments for which Rogers is the proudest include recognition as a three-time GM Women’s Retail Network Scholarship winner. She was also elected president of JumpStart, an employee resource group (ERG) within GM, which focuses on engaging, developing and connecting GM’s newest talent.
For more information about the Automotive Technology program at L&C, contact Program Coordinator Chris Reynolds at (618) 468-4915 or email@example.com.