I’ve been attending so many events and celebrations in the last few months, there’s been no time to write a blog post! So many, in fact, that I could easily have added to my event chronicles on a daily basis if only there was the time. As I reflect on all of the year-end student, staff, and community celebrations, one special event stands out. And it stands out among all of the culminating events because it was a celebration of the beginning of something new at the College. I’m referring to the launch event that was held earlier this month for the new AYES Program.
So what is AYES? It stands for Automotive Youth Education System and is a national automotive technology program designed for high school students looking to get an early start in their careers related to the automotive industry. Typically AYES programs are delivered in high schools. But here is where FVTC came into the picture and, at its foundation. This is about our faculty paying close attention to needs in our communities. Automotive instructors Todd Knorr and Scott Springstroh were keenly aware of the industry’s growing need for skilled automotive technicians and they also observed that more and more regional high schools were discontinuing their automotive programs (for good reasons such as the cost of equipping them, the inability to find qualified instructors, and/or limited student enrollment).
Todd and Scott started having conversations with AYES officials, the Wisconsin Auto and Truck Dealers Association, local dealers and service centers, and area school districts about a new delivery model for AYES – one that involved offering this program for high school students at the technical college’s J. J. Keller Transportation Center. With excitement and support from this wide range of partners, the rest is history, and this fall we will launch this new model and new opportunity for automotive students. Attending the event were our partners, elected officials, and quite a number of interested students and their parents.
High school juniors and seniors in the program will attend FVTC half days Monday-Wednesdays, gain work experience in a local dealer half days on Thursdays and Fridays, and attend their high schools half days throughout the week. AYES students will have their first semester of technical college completed at the same time they graduate from high school. They will also earn ASE certifications and complete a Maintenance Light Repair certificate – all credentials that will get them started on this career path.
I can’t say enough about the awareness and initiative taken by our automotive faculty, how effectively they work with partners in their industry, and the clear pride and professionalism that is exhibited by this department of the College. These young people are going to have an amazing experience!