MALTA – A collaboration between Kishwaukee College and Knodle’s Appliance Service Co. Inc. has helped address the need for qualified appliance repair technicians in the region.
Kishwaukee College discovered appliance repair technicians were in high demand through one of the college’s advisory committees, which are composed of professionals who offer insight on how Kish can improve its programs, according to a news release. Several local businesses showed support for the development of an appliance repair program.
Jonathan Doty, the student hired as a technician by Knodle’s, said he found the appliance repair program to be a good fit after considering other trades.
“I think of the trades as noble and stable professions. There is job security,” Doty said in a news release. “There were a lot of businesses requesting this class, so there is a lot of opportunity.”
“It was a collaborative effort. Kishwaukee College approached us and other local businesses to ask if it was a need. They picked our brains to see if the college should proceed with it,” Katherine McLaughlin, co-owner of Knodle’s, said in a news release. “Everyone said, ‘Absolutely.’ We needed hires, and we were having a hard time finding them.”
Kishwaukee College was tasked with building an appliance repair program from the ground up. The cost of tools and equipment posed a challenge, but the collaboration with Knodle’s provided the opportunity to offer the short-term program in only a few months. The college first entered into talks of starting the class in the summer of 2022, and by early 2023, Kishwaukee had lined up its partnerships, according to the release.
I think of the trades as noble and stable professions. There is job security. There were a lot of businesses requesting this class, so there is a lot of opportunity.”— Jonathan Doty
“We were very reactive. Kish got on top of it right away, found the instructor and partnered with Knodle’s,” LaCretia Konan, associate vice president of college relations, said in a news release. “Kish’s goal with these programs is to meet the needs of our local employers and help train our future workforce.”
The inaugural appliance repair technician cohort started in July and wrapped up at the end of August. The class held lectures at the college, with hands-on training taking place in Knodle’s shop. McLaughlin said the business was happy to provide the space for the program to develop.
“This is a need within our community and the whole region. This class is the only hands-on appliance repair class I’ve seen anywhere,” McLaughlin said in a news release. “We’re grateful this class was able to move forward. We’re happy to help in any way and would really love to see it continue. We have a new technician we were able to hire because of it.”
Ruben Vicencio, who also completed the program, said he previously worked in construction and warehousing and wanted a new opportunity.
“I was looking for a trade where I could learn something new – something where I could work with my hands,” Vicencio said. “Appliance repair got my attention because all the jobs are a little different. It allows you to think.”
Kishwaukee College will continue its appliance repair program during the spring semester.
Classes run from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays from Jan. 22 to April 24. To learn more about the appliance repair program, visit kish.edu/appliancerepair. To learn more about Kishwaukee College’s workforce development opportunities, visit kish.edu/workforcepartnerships.