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A Place to Belong

A stroll down the halls of any Tulsa Tech campus is a feast for the senses. Step inside the Broken Arrow campus, and your first sight is a pristine old car, proudly displayed across the welcoming lobby. But beyond the sights and smells, you also find a sense of family.

“I like the culture here; I have found friends,” Maksym Smolko, a student in the Collision Refinishing program said. Beyond the passion is an imposing stature and a thick accent. “The teachers are easy to talk to, and the culture is a big change.”

Smolko knows change well. He and his family moved to the Tulsa area from Ukraine. The native of Mariupol came to the U.S. a few years ago.

“My uncle came here, and he asked my parents if we wanted to come here and visit,” Smolko said. “We liked it so much we decided to move here as well.”

Along with a new school came a new language and a yearning to belong. He says he found that sense at Tulsa Tech.

One of the most significant ways he has found to connect is through cars. Now in his second year at Tech, Maksym has found a passion, fixing up the dents and dings that can ruin a vehicle.

“Last year, I took the collision refinishing program,” he said. “Painting cars is fun; I learned a lot.”

Now in his second year, he is working toward his goal of opening his body shop one day. With more and more cars on the road, the need for skilled craftspeople to repair them will continue to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the field will grow three percent over the next decade.

“I have never repaired a car or anything,” he said. “This class teaches us how-to pull-out damages and fix everything.”

With his sense of belonging and newfound confidence, Smolko is ready to succeed in his path to a great career.

If you are looking for a new career or want to refresh your skills, Tulsa Tech has the training to set you on the right path.