Meet John Flynn

When John Flynn graduated from DeKalb High School over ten years ago, his life was on a pretty straight-forward ordinary track, a track that didn’t include any additional school: work on the line at a factory, get married, start a family.  But that ordinary track became an extraordinary journey once he entered the Kishwaukee College Automotive Technology program and met instructor Tim Banasiak. Just a few years later, he graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with a Bachelors of Science in Auto Technology and he graduated cum laude, with honors.

Today, John lives in Macomb, MI with his family and works at the Diagnostic Engineer with General Dynamics. 

John gets it.

In 2009, he was laid off from his assembly line job. While at the unemployment office, he found out that the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) would pay for school, including the Automotive Tech program at Kishwaukee College.

I had been working on cars since I was 15 so I figured “why not?” and I enrolled,” he said. The WIA program paid his tuition, fees, and books.  Instructor Tim Banasiak talked to John about a unique opportunity to go beyond becoming an Auto Tech and earning a Bachelors degree in Automotive Technology, a degree that prepares students for upper level positions in the auto industry.

For any young person living at home: Don’t wait. An Associates degree from Kishwaukee will definitely get you places and a Bachelors degree gets you further. When I started at Kish, I never thought I’d be graduating from SIU with honors and deciding which job to choose.  Go to Kish and get started.

It all paid off, figuratively and literally.  John discovered he enjoyed school; set a great example for his sons who saw their Dad not just be a student, but be an excellent student; and found himself being courted by automotive industry heavy hitters like Bosch Auto Parts and the Tweddle Group. Suddenly, he was weighing starting salaries that were twice what he had ever earned as a high school graduate.  He accepted the position with the Tweddle Group and relocated to Michigan.

He has never looked back.

John Flynn offers this advice, “For any young person living at home: Don’t wait. An Associates degree from Kishwaukee will definitely get you places and a Bachelors degree gets you further. When I started at Kish, I never thought I’d be graduating from SIU with honors and deciding which job to choose.  Go to Kish and get started.”