Down one of a lesser traveled hallways on campus is a room filled with old classic cars.
Some have had their roofs chopped off and welded back together, others have been reshaped and customized with new grills and some have been completely torn apart, leaving only the frame.
The door of this room reads Street Rod Technology.
Like this room, the Street Rod program is not well-known around campus. This is a two year program that uses lectures and hands on experience to teach students about collision repair and custom body work. The Street Rod program is in its ninth year and was started by Cris Boggess, who still runs the program today.
“[The department] contacted me and asked if I would like to start a [Street Rod] program,” Boggess said. “I spent a year getting the curriculm created and presented it to the board, and they were excited. They said, ‘We’ve been waiting for this. We’ve been hearing about it around the community.’ So they passed it through and got the program going.”
To get involved in this program, students must begin by completing the first year Collision Repair courses. This will give students the basic skills they will need before they move into the more detailed art of the street rods.
“In first year Collision, you get the basics of painting and welding and straightening panels and then you can come down to the Street Rod program,” Boggess said.
For this program, students can bring in a car and use what they learn to alter, fix and restore it.
Some people worry that because of the hard economic times, this career path would not be a wise one. Boggess, however, disagrees with this, saying that many of his students have gone on to be hired in big street rod shops or even go on to start their own.
“I’ve had three guys start custom shops, and they’re full of cars and a lot of my other students are working at custom shops as well,” Boggess said. “It’s good to see the students get good jobs, and doing good out there.”
On top of the possibilities of making some cash in the custom street rod shops, this program prepares students for success by teaching them skills that they can use in other paths.
“What they learn here is still in the car field, but what I have taught them here has helped them in other fields,” Boggess said. “I teach them welding, so they can be a welder, they could do metal work or they can specialize in different stuff. And now we’re even teaching them upholstery.”
The Street Rod program offers students the opportunity to take their love of classic cars and turn it into a career.