One of our sister publications, Tomorrow’s Technician, sponsors a “School of the Year” program every year with the kind assistance of Chicago Pneumatic. We ask our readers to tell us why they should be called the “School of the Year” and Chicago Pneumatic awards thousands of dollars in prizes to three runners-up and one grand-prize winner to recognize their excellence.
This year, as I read through the stack of applications I was struck by the similarity of the sentiments expressed and written over and over, by students and instructors across the country. A couple of general themes emerged:
Lack of support at the local school or government level.
Lack of new tools or equipment to train with.
The incredible dedication of the teaching staff.
The educational level of the teaching staff (most are ASE Master Technicians, certified in five or more categories).
The love these students feel for their chosen field of work.
I could go on about all the interesting things they say, but I would prefer to let their own words speak for themselves.
“This is my second year teaching. When I started I was given an empty shop and classroom. Since I have restored this class, we do work just like a body shop. At the start of my second year, my class had the largest number of students sign up out of the whole school. In previous years, the number of students that dropped out was very high. This year so far I had one drop compared to eight my first year at this time in the school year. I think my students have come a long way and they deserve the recognition.”
— M. Pennison, Instructor at Terrebonne Vo-Tech HS
“Our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, current educational processes and techniques for our automotive technology students and prepare them for this ever-changing industry. But it is our focus on the education of the whole person that makes the larger difference. I must say that our department chairman would literally give a student the shirt off his back to help keep the youth in school. The compassion, care and dedication here is something not seen in many post secondary settings. Young men and women are being molded and shaped to be accountable, productive, skilled, active employees and citizens of their prospective communities. We strive to instill in our students the importance and privilege of education and pride in themselves and their work. We help students stand up straight with their shoulders back, look the world in the eye, set a goal and go after it. We also teach the concept that all persons need to be productive and active members of their communities.”
— C. Stenseth, Aims Community College, Ft. Lupton, CO
You probably agree that we could all do more to help the future technicians of our industry. I would encourage you to reach out to the automotive, collision and diesel educational facilities in your area and find out what more you can do to bring young people into our industry. They are the future of this business and deserve your attention. You can read more comments from students and instructors on my blog at www.techshop-ets.blogspot.com.