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Matthew Schott working in an ADI lab.

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, dedicated to recognizing the importance of hands-on learning and vocational training in preparing students for successful careers. Baker College has an array of CTE programs, which empower students to pursue their passions and excel in their chosen fields.

One such student is Matthew Schott, who is currently enrolled at the Auto Diesel Institute of Michigan (ADI) and recently received the Mike Rowe Work Ethic Scholarship. As a longtime fan of Mike Rowe and his show Dirty Jobs, Schott feels a deep connection to the values of hard work and dedication Rowe embodies. The application was extensive and rigorous. It involved recommendation letters, essays, a video presentation, academic performance evaluations, and a work ethics pledge. After submitting his application, Schott was thrilled to learn that he was one of two hundred recipients from 41 states and received $9500 toward his studies. The scholarship not only provides financial support but also serves as validation of Schott’s commitment to his education and future career. 

Schott’s education and career goals are clear. He aims to complete the associate degree program at ADI and become an ASE master certified Medium-Heavy Truck Technician. Beyond that, he wants to pursue a career as an electrician, diesel technician, and ride mechanic for a traveling carnival. Schott mentions, “It has been a passion of mine since I was 6 years old. There is something about seeing these massive and colorful adrenaline machines transform into a semi trailer that has always fascinated me. Besides, what little kid doesn’t love semi trucks?”

Schott speaks highly of the instructors, facilities, and equipment. He emphasizes the hands-on nature of the curriculum, which allows students to work with real engines and equipment commonly found in the heavy-duty diesel industry. “My instructors are experienced diesel mechanics who have mastered the best way to teach young students like myself the complicated systems of these amazing machines, and they make sure we are fully prepared to inspect, diagnose, and repair all aspects of the amazing heavy duty over-the-road (OTR) diesel industry. The facility—from the classrooms to the lab and the student lounge—are all modern, clean and inviting,” Schott said.

The program’s emphasis on practical skills and real-world experience sets it apart from others across the country. “We have great instructors, and our diesel program is one of two in the state that is master certified for ASE. There aren’t a lot of diesel programs out there, and we’re sought after because we teach medium and heavy-duty trucks. This is the first time we’ve had a student get a scholarship of this magnitude, and  it speaks volumes about the caliber of education our programs provide and the exceptional achievements of our students,” said Ken Boyer, Dean – ADI, and Diesel Services Technology Program Director.

Schott’s story is a testament to the value of Career and Technical Education and the opportunities it provides for students to achieve their goals. As we celebrate CTE Month, we honor students like Schott who embody the spirit of hands-on learning and vocational training. Their success is a reflection of the dedication and commitment of educators, mentors, and institutions like Baker College, who are dedicated to preparing students for the workforce of today—and tomorrow.

With a 43,000-square-foot facility, The Auto/Diesel Institute of Michigan with the Baker College Owosso campus has the same high-tech equipment currently used across the industry. Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-Certified Master Technicians helping students excel in a world of ever-evolving vehicle technology.

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