Students in Tri-County Community College’s (TCCC) automotive systems technology program huddle around the exposed front end of a Ford Ranger pickup truck, carefully rebuilding an engine taken apart in a previous class.
“We took it apart as a team, so we’re going to put it back together as one as well,” said Morris Blackwell, TCCC student, who recently began his second semester in the automotive systems technology program.
Teamwork is a key part of the classroom experience, said Keith Marcus, automotive systems technology instructor at TCCC.
“Our students really benefit from this environment,” said Marcus, who is a graduate of TCCC’s automotive systems technology program himself. “We keep up-to-date with all the latest technology, ensuring we have all the equipment our students might potentially come across in their careers as mechanics.”
According to Marcus, one of the most crucial areas of new equipment is green technology, which TCCC supplies for hands-on student training.
“Green technology is here to stay, so for our students to have the opportunity to learn how to safely and efficiently repair hybrid and electric vehicles is extremely beneficial when they are later looking for a job,” said Marcus, who has nearly 25 years experience teaching in the automotive program at TCCC.
According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts automotive repair and maintenance industry is expected to add 237,500 new jobs and have a 30 percent growth rate through 2020, with an average salary of around $40,000 a year.
“Students who complete our program are prepared to take the ASE exam and be ready for full-time employment in dealerships and repair shops in the automotive service industry,” Marcus said.
For Blackwell, TCCC provided the opportunity for him to gain his certification in a career field he had always enjoyed.
“I was in the military for 10 years,” Blackwell said. “So now I’ve come back to school at Tri-County to get recertified and find employment at a dealership.”
For more information regarding TCCC’s automotive systems technology program, call 837-6810.
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