New Student Spotlight: Michael Bratsch

Michael Bratsch
Michael Bratsch

Auto Body major awarded $2,500 Workforce Development Scholarship

Michael Bratsch, 18, graduated from Farmington High School in the Class of 2019. Michael is set to begin his studies in the Auto Body Collision Technology (ABCT) program at Dakota County Technical College fall semester 2019 with the goal to earn his Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree and enhance his career options as a professional body tech.

Joining a wave of new students enrolling at Minnesota State colleges for fall semester 2019, Michael received a $2,500 Workforce Development Scholarship. Minnesota State started the scholarship program in fall 2018 as a way to work with business and industry partners to supplement student scholarships in high-demand career fields.

DCTC students admitted to select manufacturing, healthcare and information technology programs offering an associate degree, diploma or certificate are eligible to receive a Workforce Development Scholarship.

“I am very thankful to receive this scholarship,” Michael said. “The funds will help me out a lot. I can buy tools and that is a great way to jump-start my career.”

Three words that describe you as a new college student:

Michael chose DCTC because his brother, Kyle, 20, is a 2019 graduate of the ABCT program and highly recommended the instructors and curriculum. You can learn more about Kyle by reading “Southern Cruzers Donate $2,500 to DCTC” on DCTC News.

Kyle works as a body tech at Jeff Belzer’s in Lakeville, Minnesota. Michael and Kyle’s father also works at Jeff Belzer’s and has more than 37 years of experience as a body tech.

“I remember helping my dad work on cars when I was a little kid,” Michael said. “What I like best about being a body guy is that every job is different. You can be working on the same exact make and model year and end up with a completely different project. No two accidents are the same.”

Michael works as a body tech at Northfield Autobody in Northfield, Minnesota. He will put in 40 hours a week during the summer, cutting back to 20–25 hours when school starts in the fall. He hopes to continue his career at Northfield Autobody after graduating from DCTC.

Michael played forward as a junior on the Tigers soccer team in high school and is considering trying out for the Blue Knights at DCTC. In his free time, he enjoys hunting pheasant, deer, turkey and elk. He is looking forward to hunting black bear in the fall. He also likes fishing for walleye and pan-fish; ice-fishing is one of his favorite pastimes. His family owns a 7-year-old cat named Peanut they found as a newborn kitten. Michael resides in Farmington, Minnesota.

Automotive Body Repairers

Restore and replace parts of automobile frames.


Above the statewide median of $20.07/hour.


Median: $21.52/hour
High: $28.96/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $25.98/hour
High: $33.04/hour


This career is currently in high demand and seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 6.6 percent. There will be a need for about 2,937 new Automotive Body Repairers to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

More about the Auto Body Collision Technology program…

Auto body collision technicians are the skilled professionals who accurately diagnose and repair collision-damaged vehicles. Repairing today’s advanced passenger vehicles requires knowledge and training in metals, plastics, structural repairs and refinishing. Instruction involves classroom theory, demonstrations and the hands-on repair of customer vehicles. Classroom presentation includes I-CAR Enhanced Delivery Collision Repair Training.

Skilled graduates find challenging careers as body, frame or paint technicians, adjusters, appraisers and managers in franchise or independent body shops, dealerships, specialty shops and insurance companies.

The Auto Body Collision Technology program is accredited by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF) and Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR).

Learn more…

Michael Bratsch 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Soccer; I like to watch pro soccer and I’m a United fan.
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Canada to go fishing
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Racing a four-wheeler on an all-terrain track
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Retire right away 2) Donate to charities 3) Travel the world
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Criminal Minds
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Step Brothers
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Have a successful career and raise a family
  8. Your national bird if you could have one: Bald eagle
  9. Dream occupation: Body guy
  10. Person you would most like to meet: John Thielen (invented a goose call)
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Paintless dent repair
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Cancer
Learn more about the Auto Body Collision Technology program at DCTC by contacting:

Gerry Rainford
Auto Body Collision Technology Faculty

Scott Logan
Auto Body Collision Technology Faculty

Learn more about the DCTC Foundation and scholarships by contacting:

Michelle Boe, JD
Executive Director of Foundation

Amy Eppen
Foundation Development Director

Michael Bratsch

Michael Bratsch