Port Clinton Automotive Repair provides local students with vocational training

Feb 26, 2020 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Image of Terry VanHoose providing vocational training

Terry VanHoose of Port Clinton Auto Repair is providing vocational training in the offices at Port Clinton Auto Repair to Reahanna Summerland and Ian Lawson. (Photos by Phillip Wheeler)


Home Ec and shop classes have become a thing of the past at area high schools. Lisa and Kim Smith, though, are readily aware there is still a need for vocational training.

Port Clinton Automotive Repair, formally The MufflerSmiths, has joined forces with Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers and Port Clinton High School to host students interested in entering the automotive repair field.

A family-owned business since 1949, The MufflerSmiths has changed its name to Port Clinton Automotive Repair in order to reflect the broader nature of its business.

“We are not just mufflers these days,” said Lisa Smith, who with her husband Kim, own and operate the business. “We do any type of auto repair.”

They opened their doors to students of Port Clinton High School in order to allow selected students an opportunity to gain an insight into the automotive repair business.

Image of Bob BanHoose working with vocational students

Bob VanHoose enjoys working with vocational students Reahanna Summerland and Ian Lawson in the shop at Port Clinton Auto Repair.

Juniors Reahanna Summerland and Ian Lawson are attending Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers in Fremont about three hours a day. As part of the training program, they are spending approximately four hours each week shadowing the mechanics at Port Clinton Automotive Repair to learn more about the work they do and the automotive industry.

Lawson’s grandfather was a race car driver, having competed at Sandusky Speedway, and his father has regularly worked on cars.

“We would go to the track and race the drag cars we built. It was an enjoyable sport for the whole family,” said Lawson. “I just like the mechanics of how motors work, the engineering that is involved.”

Summerland’s father had worked on cars and motorcycles, as well.
“We used to own motorcycles, and I helped him fix those, too.” said Summerland. “At Vanguard, we are taught basic skills about automobiles. It’s really useful knowledge for the future, since you can get a job anywhere with that skill set.”

College isn’t for everyone, and places like Vanguard are committed to providing a challenging curriculum, skilled instruction, and a learning environment that responds to individual student success. A vocational school is designed to provide the education and technical skills required to complete the tasks of a particular and specific job.

For Summerland and Lawson, that puts them on course to be automotive repairmen.

The schools such as Vanguard are traditionally distinguished from four-year colleges by their focus on job-specific training for students who are typically bound for one of the skilled trades. Every student is given the chance of achieve high levels of educational achievement in preparation for meeting their individual needs.

Because of the training offered by Lisa and Kim Smith at Port Clinton Automotive Repair, students are being given ‘real world’ opportunities to find out if they are on their career path.

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