Earning an Automotive Service I proficiency certificate in 2019 was the culmination of Jovie Last’s lifelong interest in mechanics, tools and working with her hands. Later in life, she realized that automotive service represents an industry where all three components, plus problem solving, are used all day, every day, and would be an enormously satisfying career choice.
“Toys had a great effect on me growing up, especially Erector and Tinkertoy sets,” said Jovie.
She is now taking the PennDOT Emissions Inspector Certification course and is already certified to perform all other functions for PennDOT annual safety inspections of automobiles and light trucks. With previous positions at a dealership and as a technician at Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby, Jovie focused on teaching women about automobiles while providing excellent service to customers, and expanding her experience and expertise.
“Girls Auto Clinic has an environment that tailors the repair experience to women by being very conscientious about explaining why a part fails and what a certain system does. I was a customer before I became a mechanic myself,” she said.
Jovie has led two virtual Lunchtime Lessons through The Science Center where she talked about automotive basics and finding her passion for her current career path. In order to demystify the maintenance process and create a better experience for both owners and technicians, she is now hosting hands-on basic car care workshops for women at clients’ own homes. Jovie teaches attendees where in their automobile and online they can find their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), tire size and tire pressure specification, and what type and how much oil their vehicle requires. She helps participants take these details and develop a vehicle information sheet that can be kept in the glovebox for easy reference. Participants also learn how to check fluid levels and air filters, change wiper blades and tires, and search Google for advice and information regarding issues with their vehicles. The women can ask general questions, and they also leave the session with a tire pressure gauge and tire tread depth gauge.
Jovie credits the College for getting her started on this career path.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, and I worked in the financial, construction and music industries in administrative and public relations roles. But I wanted more active, hands-on work. At Community College of Philadelphia, I learned what I can expect going into the field. I received all the practical training I needed to enter the auto service industry,” she said.
While pursuing her proficiency certificate, she landed a part-time position at Center City Toyota as a basic service technician—the result of a Career Meet-and-Greet hosted by the Automotive Technology program at the College. She then moved on to Enterprise Rent-A-Car full time.
Just as automobiles continue to change and move forward, Jovie is intent on acquiring additional skills to keep pace with the industry. She is enthusiastically waiting for the completion of the College’s new Career and Advanced Technology Center in West Philadelphia, which will allow the Automotive Technology programs to expand and incorporate diesel and heavy equipment technology, more alternative fuel programs, and more manufacturer certifications.
“I want to continue to learn and grow, and see where cars are going in the future. It’s never too late. I’m just getting started,” she said.
Anyone interested in a car care session can contact Jovie at firstname.lastname@example.org.