Military Veteran is First to Complete DMACC Automotive Subaru-U Program

Posted 10/29/2020
two people shaking hands in front of Subaru dealer

​Trent Olson (left), owner of Flagstaff Subaru, congratulates Jared Szczepanski for being the first DMACC Automotive Technology student to graduate from Subaru-U. Szczepanski has been hired as a full-time automotive technician at Flagstaff Subaru in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Jared Szczepanski says DMACC has given him the education and training to succeed in the workplace

  • DMACC helped Szczepanski transition from the U.S. Air Force to civilian life.

  • Pandemic and his wife accepting a job 1,300 miles away did not deter Szczepanski from his goal.

  • Szczepanski is on the fast track toward becoming Senior Master Subaru Certified as an Automotive Technician.

A military veteran persevered through a pandemic and his wife accepting a job out-of-state to complete his DMACC Automotive Technology Associate Degree and become the first DMACC Subaru-U graduate.

Jared Szczepanski said when he was nearing the end of his enlistment with the U.S. Air Force, he was looking for opportunities in the automotive industry.

He said everywhere he looked pointed him to DMACC with their numerous programs and outstanding testimonials.

"As an active-duty service member transitioning to the civilian workforce, the DMACC Automotive program and staff made this normally stressful process easy and enjoyable," Szczepanski said. “The amount of resources and material given to me was more than enough to ensure my start in the program would be successful and rewarding."

Szczepanski, an alum of Winona Senior High School in Winona, Minn., said he always had a passion for Subaru engineering and heritage, and was excited to get the ball rolling when first told about the Subaru-U offering at DMACC.

This unique partnership between Subaru and DMACC allows students to learn and receive specific training related towards Subaru vehicles. 

“Students who choose to work at a Subaru dealership after completing the DMACC Automotive Technology program will leave with Subaru certifications," said Jerry Burns, DMACC Automotive Programs Chair. “When they graduate from Subaru-U, they will possess the required skills needed to be an entry-level technician and be able to work on today's technology-advanced Subaru vehicles."

Szczepanski said he then started completing the Subaru online courses alongside his in-person classes at DMACC.

“The online Subaru courses actually complimented the Automotive Mechanics Technology courses quite well, and I was able to bring my questions and understandings from the Subaru courses into class and get further perspective from my DMACC instructors," Szczepanski said.

Szczepanski's wife accepted at job at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Ariz., in June of 2019. Szczepanski said he then started looking for potential career opportunities in the area. While in the middle of both his DMACC Automotive Technology courses and Subaru-U courses, he reached out to Flagstaff Subaru owner Trent Olson, who in turn encouraged Szczepanski to keep him updated with his progress. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced DMACC to transition to online learning, Szczepanski said he decided to head to Arizona to be with his wife instead of attending online lectures from his one-bedroom apartment in Ankeny.

He said when DMACC Automotive instructors Jeff Calkin and Shane Boots were able to get back into the lab for hands-on training, he immediately flew back to Iowa to get a better grasp on the advanced material through in-person learning.

“With the pandemic in full effect, I was not able to participate in the Subaru internship at all, but I was still able to obtain my associate degree," Szczepanski said.

After graduating from the DMACC Automotive Technology program and completing all of his Level I and Level II Subaru-U online courses, Szczepanski said he again contacted Flagstaff Subaru Owner Trent Olson. Olson, along with Service Manager Mike Labunetz, conducted a phone interview with Szczepanski.

"After all was said and done, Olson decided to take a chance on me, knowing I had zero 'real-world' shop experience," Szczepanski said. 

He then packed his tool box and belongings in a 15-foot U-Haul and moved to Arizona to be with his wife and hopefully start his new career.  

“Service Manager Mike Labunetz moved me into my new work bay and immediately gave me repair orders," Szczepanski said. "With my DMACC acquired knowledge, along with Subaru-U training, I was able to complete the majority of my repair orders with little to no assistance from fellow technician, and I was able to completely shatter my 90-day expectations within the first two weeks."

He said he is now into his third month of employment at Flagstaff Subaru and is on the absolute fast track for becoming Senior Master Subaru Certified.

“Not a day goes by where I do not apply the knowledge gained from my DMACC program, and I know I would not be where I am today without it," Szczepanski said. “DMACC has truly given me every tool I need to succeed, from knowledgeable instructors, modern equipment and real-world facilities."

In addition to the new Subaru-U program, the DMACC Automotive Technology program has manufacturer partnerships with General Motors for the GM Automotive Service Education Program (ASEP), Ford with the Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) program, Fiat Chrysler with the MOPAR College Automotive Program (CAP) and Honda with Honda Professional Automotive Career Training (PACT).

To learn more, visit


For more information, contact: Jerry Burns, (515) 964-6504,, or Jared Szczepanski, (507) 450-6237

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