Mount Olive's Jones earns top awards

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Mount Olive resident Luke Jones recently received two prestigious awards from Wayne Community College.

He was presented the Outstanding Student Curriculum Award for the General Motors-Automotive Service Educational Program (GM-ASEP) and the Work-Based Learning (WBL) Student of the Year Award during the college’s annual recognition ceremony.

Jones took some ribbing from family members.

He is a GM technician.

His grandfather, Elvin “Puddin” Jones, was an avowed Ford man.

“I feel like my grandfather would be very proud of my career choice,” Luke said. “He always took pride in his work and was well known around the Mount Olive area for his automotive work. He is still talked about and remembered for it to this day.”

Fascinated with cars as a child, Jones said following in his grandfather’s footsteps required the right training.

Community college seemed like his best option.

“GM-ASEP, without a doubt, set me up for a career by teaching me the skills and techniques to be competitive in the automotive field,” he said. “The GM-ASEP program prepared me for the job I now hold by teaching me the fundamentals and giving me the knowledge and understanding of how systems on vehicles work.

“Through ASEP, I had access to WCC’s state-of-the-art facility and the same dealer equipment as the job I now hold to practice everyday tasks to better equip me for the workplace. It also put me in touch with great instructors, which opened the door for me to get hired where I am currently employed.”

The WBL program at WCC adds real-world work experience to classroom learning, bringing theory and application together. Students get academic credit for time on the job. 

WCC currently has more than two dozen programs that require work-based learning.

Jones completed his work-based learning at Deacon Jones Auto Park in Smithfield.

“It is one of my favorite parts of the program. It is one of the reasons I chose ASEP,” he said of WBL. “You get more training and you make money while in school.”

Jones started at the bottom rung.

He handled oil changes and light maintenance.

Because of his attitude and energy, he was an easy selection for the WBL award, according to a release from the college.

Earlier this month, Luke graduated from WCC with honors and was hired by Deacon Jones as a full-time GM technician. He is considering further training in transportation areas like collision repair and refinishing of aviation systems. 

“While I’m young, I think I’ll get more education,” he said.

Wayne Community College’s GM-ASEP program is one of three in North Carolina and 51 in the country. The program is accredited by the ASE Education Foundation which ensures that the training provided meets or exceeds industry standards.

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