NC3 Master Instructor Spotlight | Claude Townsend 

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NC3 has some impressive Master Instructors in our ranks and this Instructor Spotlight series aims to highlight the incredibly talented individuals who work with us. We’ll be featuring a new interview in our monthly newsletters, here on our website, and on our social media pages each month.

Claude Townsend 

NC3 Master Instructor | Snap-on | Oakland Community College

Claude Townsend is an instructor at Oakland Community College located in Auburn Hills, Michigan. He specializes in automotive servicing and has been involved with NC3 for almost a decade. Claude has earned a long list of NC3 certifications and is certified to teach upwards of 20 NC3/Snap-on certifications.

Check out our Q&A session below to learn more about Claude, his school, how he originally got involved with NC3, being an NC3 Master Instructor, and more!

I’m proud of my school for being open to change. What I mean by that is supporting me as an NC3 Master Instructor but also embracing NC3 as a whole organization and manufacturers involved; allowing us to purchase the equipment needed to be able to do the NC3 certifications. I think that’s a big thing that some schools don’t support on the administrative side because they don’t understand it. After explaining NC3 to our administration, they support what I do and have supported me ever since I got here.

I got involved with NC3 in 2015. I was at an instructor update conference doing some training, and there was a group of Snap-on representatives attending, they exposed all the instructors to this new certification and it was NC3. I didn’t know a whole lot about it. I knew what it was, and I wanted to pursue it further. The school district that I was in didn’t want anything to do with it. They didn’t understand it, they didn’t like it, and they didn’t want to spend the money. When I came to Oakland Community College some of the Snap-on equipment was already purchased. Nobody had done the training yet, and my boss said, ‘Hey, we went out to benchmark Gateway Technical College. We want to do this.’ As soon as they told me what it was, I already knew that I was all in. I said I was ready. Send me!  

I started doing my training in 2016 and because of that, I am where I am today. My college administration allowed me to get involved with training and supported me in doing so. The first training I went to was a 3-day training at TCAT Elizabethton. I was there and there was an opening for another 2-day class. I called my school and asked to attend the training since I was already there, and they were all for it, and I’ve been doing it ever since. 

My favorite part of Train-the-Trainer is interacting with all the other NC3 Master Instructors before, during, and after training. You’re all excited to get started, but at the same time anticipating a long week, and the next thing you know it’s mid-week, then finally you have to pack up and go home, and that’s always the sad part. But the part I really like is seeing the interaction between the instructors in the classroom. They bring information from outside of the NC3 world, and we get to learn from each other on a different level. It’s inspiring to see them pass the course and figure out how they are going to take what they have learned and incorporate it at their own schools.  It’s a shared passion. Everybody is there for the same reason: to better themselves and to better their students. We all strive to teach our students so we can see the spark in their eyes, that they are getting it, they understand the skills and materials, and they understand the value of what we’re doing. That’s a big thing for me. 

For schools and instructors considering joining the NC3 team, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Jump in with both feet. While the initial investment in equipment and instructor development may seem significant, the rewards and return on investment are tenfold.

You’ll see a positive impact on your instructors, students, and facilities. Students will become excited about learning, engaging in hands-on labs, and gaining real-life experiences in the classroom.

Employers appreciate it because they recognize that students have tangible skills. They see what students do to earn their credentials, indicating that these students are trainable.

With basic skills like using a torque wrench or a Pro-Cut machine already mastered, students can be productive immediately. Employers don’t need to spend time closely supervising them, allowing for smoother operations and increased productivity. This trust in our program translates to employers valuing and investing in our students from the start.

I enjoy hunting and plan to do more fishing this summer. For the past three years, I’ve spent a lot of time with my two granddaughters, babysitting, taking them to summer school, and I plan to go camping with them as well. I also like mountain biking and need to find new trails near my new home. Now that I have property, I’m getting into farming and helping my wife with the garden. 

I engage in many outdoor activities outside of work, but I also enjoy interacting with students and supporting their personal and professional goals.  

Now that I’m older, I appreciate the education I received much more than I did at the time. I loved studying vocational education and diesel mechanics, but I wish I had valued the academic side more and been a better student. I regret not trusting my teachers and using the resources available to me. My advice to my younger self would be to pay attention, use the resources, and ask more questions. When I was young, I tended to procrastinate and didn’t pay enough attention. It’s important to balance fun with responsibility and not goof off too much.

Watch the “Claude the Auto Guy” Instagram Series!

For information on Oakland Community College, please visit: 

For information on NC3’s Partner Snap-on, please visit: 

For information on NC3’s Train-the-Trainer program, please visit 

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