(Sweetwater) – It’s time to start the engines and drive toward the future for many area high school students.Thanks to a partnership between their schools and Texas State Technical College, students can earn early college credit.
TSTC established a dual enrollment Automotive Technology program for Brownwood and Snyder high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in the fall of 2018, at no cost to the students themselves.
Those students can earn up to 12 college credit hours toward a certificate or an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and work at a local internship.
“I feel it’s important for schools to show every viable option to our students and give them a heads-up,” Lindsay Smith, assistant principal at Brownwood High School, said. “Our long-term hope is that we can get these students internships at facilities in Brownwood and eventually fill a need for auto techs in the community.”
Students attend class at their high school facilities but follow a carefully structured curriculum created by Rudy Cervantez, the statewide department chair for TSTC Automotive Technology.
The curriculum follows the Automotive Service Excellence Educational Foundation Alliance for Maintenance and Light Repair Standards. Students spend their sophomore and junior years working on the curriculum and their senior year working at an internship.
“Since these schools already offer shop class, why not jump-start these students and have something to show their families that they’re working toward their futures?” Cervantez asked.
TSTC works with the instructors to ensure that they are Automotive Service Excellence-certified and the facilities have the right equipment.
“This is great for the students because it allows them to start early and complete early, and start earning money early,” Brian Lee, automotive instructor at Brownwood High School, said. “They can find their niche and know they’ve got a lot of jobs waiting on them because there is a huge need for technicians.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas is the second-leading state employing automotive service technicians and mechanics.
“It allows us to promote different higher education and career opportunities to the students, which encourages them to do well in school now so they can pursue all the options available to them,” Janell Martin, principal at Snyder High School, said.
Students follow the same syllabi and curriculum as they would if they were in an actual classroom at TSTC.
Brownwood High School has 30 students in the program, while Snyder High School has nine.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, log on to tstc.edu.