"When people see a woman repairing a car, they don't shake their heads anymore. They know we can do the job."
Having come from Michigan, cars are as natural to Michelle Kuch as the surf is to many native Southern Californians.
Michelle grew up helping her father and uncle repair automobiles, so it's not only something she was good at early, it's part of her family heritage.
"I've always enjoyed the challenge of repairing cars, from early on," Michelle says. "Finding the problem can be the biggest challenge, and I like challenges."
Her biggest challenge may have been translating her love for repairing cars to an actual job in the field. After moving to San Diego from Michigan last year, Michelle was wondering just how she would accomplish that when she was driving past the Skills Center and saw a sign outside that advertised free training in automotive repair.
"I didn't really believe it," Michelle says. "It sounded too good to be true."
Michelle's experience in the professional automotive industry had been selling parts for cars, but now it's about making them run again. She earned more expertise at the Skills Center, where she balances ongoing automotive training with automotive repair experience, having recently landed a job as an auto technician with Saturn.
"It can get kind of hectic, and you have to sacrifice your personal life for awhile, but it's definitely worth it," Michelle says. "When Saturn called the center and asked if anybody there was ready for the work force, the instructor recommended me. That gave me confidence."
Now Michelle continues her training, and will keep going until she's a master technician – as her uncle was – and maybe owns and operates her own repair shop someday.
"There's a satisfaction to this job," she says. "It's nice knowing that something you had your hands on is going to leave in better shape than it arrived."
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