“I had a teacher in high school who took a chance on me,” he recalled. “The guys in here, on average, are good, solid people and they made a mistake.”
He also recommends paying new technicians fairly, even those with little to no experience. Through his experience managing a car dealership, Leclair found that offering a competitive wage up front and training individuals from the onset most often led to success; he encourages body shops to do the same.
Clayton Long recently completed the automotive mechanics' program at Coyote Ridge.
“I had no prior automotive experience outside of knowing how to drive a vehicle,” said Long. “With that in mind, I knew I had an uphill battle on my hands.”
He said the course curriculum was a system-by-system approach, which made understanding the material much easier.
“I soon realized that we weren’t expected to know everything, as this field is constantly evolving,” said Long. “I had to learn that learning never stops; I have to adapt to technology constantly changing and I have to work hard and remain dedicated in order to be successful in my trade.”
When Long is released, he said his educational certificate will help get him through the door and into the interview process.
“The personal growth that I have achieved is what will get me the job I want,” said Long. “Once I get through the door, I want to do everything—especially the work that nobody wants to do.”
Samuel Laur was also one of Leclair’s students at Coyote Ridge who completed the automotive program.
“The program has given me hope that I’ll be able to get out and get a good job with a wage that will allow me to support myself and not come back to prison,” said Laur.