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High school student earns college degree in Auto Technician program without paying tuition

Graduates Josh Rios and his sister celebrate receiving awards

Brooklyn Park, June 6, 2023 – There were so many reasons to celebrate on graduation day for Josh Rios.

He and his sister both graduated from Hennepin Tech on the same day. Rios completed his degree without any college loan debt because he participated in a dual-enrollment program called Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO).

Thanks to PSEO, he attended college, tuition-free, while he was still in high school. He has earned a degree in the Automotive Technology program and is already working in his new career.

We asked Rios about his journey to the finish line.

Hennepin Tech: Congratulations on your graduating with honors! Describe your emotions.

Rios: I'm excited. I was a little bit nervous getting here but now I'm just I'm just excited.

Hennepin Tech: You are graduating from college today. Ironically, you haven’t officially graduated from high school yet.

Rios: Yes, it is kind of weird. My college graduation is taking place in May which takes place before my high school ceremony in June.

Hennepin Tech: You volunteer at your church and the Animal Human Society. In addition, you were working at an auto dealership in a paid internship, and taking online high school classes and attending Hennepin Tech. How it is possible?

Rios: It took a lot of self-discipline. I didn’t go without sleep. Just the opposite. I needed plenty of sleep actually. I needed to be really rested and just taking care of myself. That allowed me to really be able to dedicate the time and the energy I needed.

Hennepin Tech: What did you like about Hennepin tech?

Rios: The way that the classes were laid out, were super straightforward and was organized around the certifications that I needed. They really set me up to be able to get into the field with a good knowledge of what I was doing.

Plus, the equipment that I was using at Hennepin Tech was the same equipment that I was using once I got a job at an auto dealership. I felt I was really prepared for the real world.

Hennepin Tech: Did your faculty connect you with employers and help you get a job?

Rios: Yes, they had a lot of people come in from different dealership groups to talk to us.

Hennepin Tech: Why do you enjoy working as an Auto Technician?

Rios: I enjoy working with my hands and working with cars. It's just really rewarding for me.

My volunteer work is very important to me and being able to give back to the community and help out friends and family. I know people struggle to find a mechanic who they trust. So just being able to be that honest person and take care of my friends and family is important to me. This is definitely what I want to do. I’ve always dreamed of doing a career that I love.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college offers degree and non-degree courses in over 40 programs in the skilled trades and high-demand career fields. Achieving a high job placement rate, Hennepin Tech prepares students for high-paying employment opportunities.

Last updated by mdibba : 2023-06-30 03:21:09