Texas Southmost College’s Auto Body Repair Shop recently buzzed with activity when students participated in a facility tour. 

Developed by Workforce Solutions Cameron, the LIFT (Leading to Inspire Fearless Talent) program stands out as a novel initiative. It offers at-promise youth a range of unique opportunities for career exploration and soft skill enhancement. The recent visit to TSC’s Auto Body Repair shop was part of a series of activities, including trips to Noble Texas Builders and Valley Baptist Medical Center’s School of Vocational Nursing. These experiences aim to broaden the student’s horizons and help them consider various career paths. 

“Our goal is for our students to feel confident once it’s time for them to enter the workforce, and we feel that the LIFT initiative provides that opportunity for our local youth,” said Manuel Morales, Community Engagement & Communications Manager for Workforce Solutions Cameron. “We want students to be excited about the options available to them, and we have such a deep passion for educating our future workforce, getting them prepared, and helping them develop confidence in themselves.” 

Twenty-five students from Porter Early College High School were there to do much more than receive general information about TSC’s Auto Body Repair and Automotive Technology programs – they were given a set of tasks to complete in order to give them a better understanding of just what exactly can be expected from those who may want to seek a career in the automotive field. 

Students in the LIFT program received small model cars to modify. Initially, they learned to use appropriate shop equipment to apply a clear coat to their models’ exteriors. Subsequently, they were given miniature head and taillights. With the help of soldering irons, they were guided on how to wire and attach these lights to their cars.

Aiding in the students’ activities were their teachers from Porter, who would occasionally step in to answer questions or provide a little bit of guidance if they ran into issues, all for the sake of helping enhance the experience. 

“The hands-on activities in the LIFT program are invaluable. They provide students with practical experience and a real-world understanding of these skills,” praised Daniel Martinez, an Auto Collision instructor at Porter. “This exposure will help them explore various career areas, particularly in the automotive field where there is a technician shortage. We are committed to inspiring these high school seniors and broadening their career options.” 

Although this was the final activity for the LIFT initiative’s initial run, Morales hopes to collaborate with TSC again soon. 

“TSC has been so receptive and helpful toward our ideas, and I have to thank the college, Dr. Angelica Fuentes, Donald Wilt, and Rolando Euresti for opening their doors to us. They saw the vision of what we’re trying to achieve and have been supportive since the beginning. We hope this can be the start of a very healthy partnership.”