Archive for February, 2013

Why would I want to be an Automotive Technician?

February 20, 2013

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Picture from; http://tinyurl.com/6huzch5

A lot of people are telling young people that they should be anything but an auto technician or be in the auto industry at all.  Many private collages promote automotive careers that pay well but with huge student loans. Most students are not aware that great opportunity’s with OEMS are sometimes fully funded if they are qualified.  Sure in some areas Micky D’s pays more to start, but what will you be doing next year or the years after? ( http://autop.ro/3Kr ) and they furnish tools and such to flip burgers and teach you to ask if they want fries with that.
Many dealerships don’t know where the nearest auto training school or technical college is at, as they are so focused on sales.  Nor do the local auto teachers know who or how to to talk to the business so they can have a business and educational beneficial relationship. Somehow we need to fix this gap in communication.

Sadly our industry’s workers are getting older as we speak  and with technology exceeding the wildest predictions of the engineers that create driver less cars and exotic powered engines we need younger, smarter technicians to service the vehicles of tomorrow right now!

Many criticize the current trend to get students into the auto industry via low tech positions. Sir Ken Robinson points out the deficiency of of current educational system in this TED talk. many of his points are very relevant to a hands on approach to learning.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution.html

Be sure to watch Sir Ken’s other talks to understand his focus.

Many drop outs are prime candidates for the hands on training required to “Fix things” in many areas of expertise.

Here is what started this dialogue; please do not read this blog with out reading James’ story!

Wired Mag Article on James Hamilton, who started as an auto mechanic.  http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/02/james-hamilton-amazon/

I asked James a question in this email;

Hi James, I read the wired article that said you started as an auto mechanic.

 My biggest challenge today is to get young people to consider a career as an auto technician. We have programs to start them but the student or the parent does not see the future in being a technician as rewarding. Could I have your thoughts on this?
I know your time is very valuable.
Thank you,
James replied;

“I might understand why some folks might find automotive technician less exciting than, say, fighter pilot. But when it comes to rewarding and to thinking through whether automotive technician is a rewarding role, I would say two things: 1) What is truly unrewarding is to not have a job and 2) what you learn as a mechanic can be applied and remain useful for entire lifetime. I learned an incredible amount as an automotive mechanic and I’m really happy I made that choice back when I was 17. Getting through an formal apprenticeship and becoming a licensed mechanic taught me the discipline and the focus to succeed at that role and gave me the confidence to take on others. The skills I learned at 17, I still apply today.
I see resumes all the time that have periods where the candidate was unemployed or weren’t challenging themselves and weren’t learning. It’s a mistake.” end of quote.

I know my personal journey was difficult and not of the standard of the day. I struggled with learning in traditional school after the 8th grade and dropped out after the ninth (see the blog http://semperfigeorgia.wordpress.com/for details)  trade school or Technical school/college as it is now was my salvation. Growing up on a farm and hating it was what drove me to cars and working on them, I wanted to learn to fix them so I could go somewhere I was not. The local junkyard with it’s old cars was much more exciting than hoeing a pea field all day in the hot sun. Having a car as a teenager gave me a power I could relate to.  I took the road less traveled and never looked  in the rear view mirror.

Regrets I have a few but that which is with out repair is without regard! I would rather be a happy ditch digger than an unhappy king.

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Remarkable Program, Remakable Teacher

February 2, 2013

We recently held our Georgia chapter of NACAT (http://www.nacat.org) conference and training session at Savannah Tech. (http://www.savannahtech.edu/ ) Our chapter meeting was held at Effingham Career Academy, (http://tinyurl.com/3ndcqs8) where Keith Cornell is the AYES (www.ayes.org) automotive instructor. Keith gave us a tour of his new lab and classroom, showing us many of the innovative ideas he has put in place. With one year of teaching at this new facility Keith has road tested and improved many of his designs for improving student learning in a school to work classroom and lab.

Fig #1. Keith uses single roll a round tool boxes for each task area. This one contains the special tools needed for brake service. The inventory control and ease of use by adopting this method of tool use will pay off in increased time on task for the students engaged in brake service in the lab.

Fig #2. Keith designed the tool set inventory control for all the tool sets. Color coded general tool sets for each student team. Lots of time invested to do this but the pay off is worth the effort when student learning is increased.

Fig #3. Clean and well organized lab will insure students will know how the 21st century work place is supposed to look and be kept with housekeeping skills learned here.

Fig #4. Keith modified and designed this cabinet with each class a drawer for safety glasses for each student. The importance of safety with our students can not be compromised or neglected by the instructor.

Fig #5. We did note one fire extinguisher that may have been out of date? Routine safety inspections by the Business and Education Advisory Committee will insure compliance with all Federal, State and local safety regulations.

Fig #6. Cover over emergency power cut prevents accidental interruption of service.

Fig#7 The lab at Effingham Career Academy is bright, clean and well organized. The students learn work ethics as they operate the shop to reflect the best example of the modern dealership and service center.

Fig #8. The lab is well planned so that everything has a place and a place for everything. When things are organized from the start then students will learn the habits that employers will want.

Here is link to video of Keith sharing his stadium seating classroom with the Georgia Auto Teachers.

As I toured the lab and classroom of this remarkable automotive program I was impressed with many of the innovative and creative ideas put into practice of the learning environment. I did not see anything that could not be replicated or adopted by anyone’s program. Even in programs with no or low budget some of the ideas would use existing items to create or replicate the idea. I visit a lot of schools around the US and meet a lot of teachers. I visit schools that have limited resources, disadvantaged students and students with more problems than I will mention today. The defining truth is this; The teacher makes the difference in the learning environment. Several years ago I attended a conference when I first started teaching and the presenter had this handout. I can not recall him today or I would give credit to that presenter.

He told stories and spoke of teachers he knew and students he had taught. He made a lasting impression on me and my teaching. I will share a copy of the handout he gave us.

Characteristics of remarkable Teachers

  • They are lifelong learners
  • They seek excellence
  • They have gifts to share
  • They are encouragers
  • They are called out to teach
  • They are positive people

 

  • They are life changers

  • They love their craft

  • They see the gifts of others

  • They mix stories and humor to connect

  • They champion their students

  • They teach from the heart and the mind

 

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TEFGA is All About Student Success in Transportation Careers

February 1, 2013

Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia organizes the Career Expo for the Georgia State SkillsUSA Conference to be held March 21, 22 @ the Georgia International Convention Center. This is one of our best kept secrets in Career Education. You and your company need to be involved in this awesome gathering of career focused young people.

Here is a report from the TEFGA .org site on last year’s Expo:

The 2012 SkillsUSA Career Expo and Championships was a huge success with over 7,000 participants. TEFGA   _2013TEFGA Fact Sheet    helped to organize the largest student focused career expo in the state, in which for two exciting days students are able to explore different career opportunities within the transportation fields, network with industry representatives and discover the options available for post-secondary education. The best students from across the state competed in competitions to test their transportation knowledge. These contests ranged from Automotive Service Technology and Collision Repair to Diesel Equipment Technology to Fight Operations and Aviation Service. Other contests tested student’s knowledge of small engines and marine and motorcycle service. The results were students realizing their goals and being rewarded for their hard work, through prizes, recognition and often scholarships for additional education.

To see the top teams in the nation compete  http://www.hotroddersoftomorrow.com/ Georgia has three of the top five teams for 2012.

The Georgia SkillsUSA Conference  http://www.skillsusageorgia.org/

To volunteer to work with the expo, To have your company showcased at the expo,  To meet some of the best young people focused on technical careers contact Erin.

For more information on how you can get involved in TEFGA’s activities to build Georgia’s future workforce in the transportation industries, please contact Erin Studstill:

Visit our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter

Email: erinstudstill@tefga.org

Click on the links for more information.

SkillsUSA_CareerExpo_Flyer

Video from 2011 Expo and Skills Conference,  http://tefga.org/Videos.htm

http://tinyurl.com/2013-SkillsUSA-CareerExpo

TEFGA Expo and Skills Sponsorship Form

2013TEFGA General Donation Form