It is the best kept secret in the county ... that everyone should know about.
“We have a lot of good opportunities here at Gadsden Technical Institute,” Gasoline Engine Service teacher David McPhaul said.
McPhaul, who has been an instructor at GTI for nearly 30 years, loves his job and especially enjoys helping students learn a trade working on small engines.
His students like it as well.
Henry Campfield at 77 still wants to learn and has been attending the class for several years.
“Not only have I learned, I have expanded my personal ideas and my personal knowledge of mechanics,” he said. “Mr. McPhaul and GTI have been a tremendous blessing for me.” Campfield said it keeps him very active and keeps his mind sharp.
McPhaul said the class consists of people from 16 to 77.
On the younger end of the class is Austin Perry, 21, who drives every day from Wakulla County to be under McPhaul’s tutelage.
“I’m here to learn about small engines and make a career out of it,” he said.
This is Perry’s first semester.
“The resources are here to learn,” said McPhaul, who added that as the country comes out of the recession jobs are coming available for small engine techs. “I have a demand right now for people who are ready to go into the workforce, but I don’t have the students that are ready at this point,” he said.
McPhaul said GTI was a training facility that provided real world job training for this community.
This year the Gasoline Engine Service program placed 100 percent of those who completed the course in a job.
The course requirements are 1,200 hours in which you learn from both the classroom and hands-on experience. Once you finish the course, you get school certification.
There is a national exam that students are prepared for, McPhaul said, which establishes a set norm for techs. That certificate is accepted across the nation and means the person has met a high standard of performance.
One of the new programs for those interested in Gasoline Engine Service and are Vietnam-era veterans allows those that qualify to receive the training and a monthly stipend while they are learning. “It will buy your tools and pay your tuition,” McPhaul said.
This year’s classes will end on May 30th, but McPhaul wants the word out that next year’s classes will start in August. “There are jobs out there if you want to get the training,” he said.
GTI Principal Debra Rackley has high praises for the work done by all of her teachers.
“Some of our graduates,” she said, “now own businesses. Some are now teachers here. We have many success stories and when you go to our local businesses and industries you will see our students.”
There is a process to become a GTI student, McPhaul said, and it starts with a visit to the campus office at 201 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. in Quincy where the staff will help you fill out the necessary paperwork.
You can also call GTI at 850-875-8324.
Other classes available at GTI are: Practical Nursing, Applied Welding, Cosmetology/Barbering, Business Technology, Nail Specialty/Facial Speciality, Adult Education and Carpentry.
Next week we will have more about GTI and the many programs available there.
CUTLINE: Left to right are instructor David McPhaul, Austin Perry, Rufus Peoples, Archie Bouie, Henry Campfield, Harold Fields and K.P. Smith.