After 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, including a six-month stint in Afghanistan working in network security, Edward Duplantis was informed that he would be returning to the war-torn country if he stayed in the military.
As a husband and father of two young children, he chose not to re-enlist and returned to his hometown of Monaca, Pa.
Deciding what career path to take to provide for his family was not difficult. While stationed in Georgia, he had been mentored by an expert mechanic and had the opportunity to work on race cars, fueling his lifelong passion for automobiles.
“I’ve always enjoyed working on cars,” said Duplantis. “I love learning about all the different components and fixing them when they break down.”
Upon returning home, his job search resulted in an offer from Ron Lewis Ford; there was just one stipulation—he would have to go to school. In August 2014, Duplantis enrolled in the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) program at CCAC’s West Hills Center.
“I love the class; I love learning about the things that I don’t know,” Duplantis said. “I want to know all the intricacies, like what causes a starter to fail.”
The veteran’s tuition is being paid by the VA and the dealership, which is a definite plus. Both of his instructors are “extremely knowledgeable,” with more advanced automotive knowledge than he had anticipated.
“What I’m learning at CCAC is preparing me for a great career with a lot of potential.”
—Edward Duplantis, student, CCAC Automotive Technology program
As part of the co-op program, Duplantis works for several hours at Ron Lewis Ford every day after school. In addition, he will work full time at the dealership for 10 to 12-week periods throughout the program, reinforcing what he’s learned in class.
Duplantis, who also works part time at a local pizza shop, is looking forward to becoming a certified technician upon his graduation in May 2016. His immediate goal is to make a good living in order to support his family. Ultimately, he would like to become Special Vehicles Team certified, which will require additional training.
“I want to do something that makes me stand out from the rest,” said Duplantis.
His advice for individuals who are interested in a career in automotive technology is to “do it professionally and do it right. Get a good education so you have that knowledge—the more you know, the better you can troubleshoot and diagnose,” he said.
“What I’m learning at CCAC is preparing me for a great career with a lot of potential. I can’t wait to get started.”
Art Harding, service manager at Ron Lewis Ford, said, “Ed is a great addition to our team. The training he is receiving at CCAC is giving him the skills and knowledge that he needs to be successful, and I think he has a bright future as a technician.”