West Bend high schoolers tour car dealerships to learn job skills

By LINDA MCALPINE - Daily News

April 22, 2015

Gerald Sorce, automotive teacher at West Bend West High School, front, and Kyle Sieracki, a West junior, admire the undercarriage of a truck on a hoist Tuesday afternoon at Gordie Boucher Ford and Lincoln in West Bend.    
Linda McAlpine/Daily News

WEST BEND - Megan Hornung, a sophomore at West Bend East High School, smiled as she peered up at a catalytic converter attached to the underbody of a truck up on a hoist in the service department at Gordie Boucher Ford and Lincoln car dealership Tuesday afternoon.

“That’s really cool,” she said.

Hornung was one of a dozen students from the West Bend high schools enrolled in the automotive class who got a behind-the-scenes tour of several car dealerships to see first hand how the things they are learning can be put to use on the job.

“I helped my dad fix cars from the time I was little,” Hornung said. “I really enjoyed that so I am planning on making it a career.”

Hornung said spending time Tuesday touring different service departments gave her a good look at seeing how things work.

“It’s been interesting,” Hornung said of the tour.

“I am big into vehicles,” Tim Fischer, a West Bend West junior, said about his interest in all things automotive. “I like doing stuff with my hands. It was great to have the chance to see what a job would be like.”

“I think the tour is a good way for the students to see what goes on behind the scenes, to see the mechanics working, and see the kinds of tools used and their working conditions,” Steve Straub, of Gordie Boucher, who served as tour guide at the dealership, said.

As he lead the students through the reception area of the service department, Straub noted that the dealership “tries to make our customers as comfortable as possible when they bring their vehicle in for repair or maintenance.”

The students also got a look at the dealership’s new car offerings in the showroom.

There, a white 2014 Ford Mustang, BOSS 302, tuned for racing and only one of 50 such vehicles made drew the students undivided attention.

“I’ll bet that cost way more than my truck,” Fischer said with a laugh.

“One wheel of it probably costs more than your truck,” joked Gerald Sorce, the students' automotive instructor.

Sorce said he arranged a full day of dealer tours, visiting six service departments, so his students can get some understanding of what a career in automotive repair looks like.

“They seem to have been enjoying it,” Sorce said of the students' reactions. “They’re getting a chance to see for themselves what a job looks like and to ask questions about their possible career choice.”