Before working as an auto restoration technician at Select Motors, which has been in business for almost 30 years, Mills was commuting two hours total every school day to earn his collision repair certification.
“I felt like it was a good opportunity, and it was the closest campus to my hometown,” he explained. “CLTCC has nine campuses, including one in my hometown of Jena, LA. However, the collision repair program is only offered at the Alexandria Campus.”
Mills said his love for cars and desire to work with his hands led him to pursue this career.
“My favorite course at CLTCC was refinishing/detailing,” he added.
Mills said his family and friends always supported his decision to attend a technical school.
“They were just glad that I was going to college and learning a skill,” he said.
The Louisiana native said he did face some challenges when transitioning from auto repair to collision repair or auto body repair.
“I studied auto repair in high school, so that’s what I knew more about,” Mills explained. “When I enrolled in the collision repair program at CLTCC, the focus was on the exterior/outside parts of the car, whereas in high school I learned about the mechanical parts of a car.”
He said he considers being trained in both disciplines to be positive because he has “learned how to make cars run and how to make them look good.”
Mills also received high praise for his “rock solid work ethic” from his CLTCC Collision Repair Technology instructor, Shannon Parker.
“He stayed late to complete projects, was always 15 minutes early, and was a good listener,” said Parker. “I’ve watched him grow tremendously over the past two years. Young men like Jamal are hard to find. He is a great addition to the team of auto restoration technicians at his new job, and he represents the next generation of workers who will keep America moving.”
For more information about CLTCC, visit cltcc.edu.