GREENVILLE — Automotive representatives from the area assembled at Greenville High School Thursday to discuss the latest happenings at the school’s Auto Tech program and to view the school’s SkillsUSA project for the 2016-2017 year.
Auto Tech Instructors Jim Anderson and Travis Nicholas were on hand to take questions from the Automotive Technology Advisory Committee, consisting of area car dealerships and repair shops, businesses which employ students from the Auto Tech program.
The instructors talked to the representatives about the junior Auto Tech students, and how they consider it a strong group.
“We had 22 kids apply and accepted 16 initially,” said Anderson. “We will bend that number of we think the kids are capable.
There was also discussion about how the automotive industry has transformed over the past few decades.
“In the automotive world, there are so many jobs now,” said Nicholas. “Turning wrenches is only a small part of it.”
Employers present at the meeting mentioned how they want the “best of the best,” whether it’s from the Auto Tech program or other programs offered at Greenville’s Career Tech.
Especially important attractions for them are students possessing “soft skills,” such as showing up to work on time as well as bringing other qualities and skills to the job and exhibiting flexibility, such as with computer and design skills.
Anderson and Nicholas also introduced to the group the students’ SkillsUSA project, which is sponsored by Toyota. This year’s project is titled “Gaining Traction in the Automotive Industry.” The project involves picking a car part — in this case, a tire — and learning the many steps in involved in the design and manufacture of the tire.
The SkillsUSA team, consisting of Shelbi Miller, Austin Lacey, Nathan Remencus, and alternate member Caleb Baker, will tour the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, on October 17.
Anderson thinks this year’s project has the potential to be as good as, if not better, than prior projects, which have won national awards in competition.
“Every year we try to do something totally different, because there are so many opportunities in our industry,” he said, noting that many of the automotive industry’s educators and technicians are getting older and the positions have become much more computerized and technologically challenging.
Advisory Committee members present included Dale Mansfield (Dave Knapp Ford), James Halderman (Pearson Education), Justin McGrath and Jim Truxal (Sinclair Community College), Tim Miller and Bob Riggs (SVG Chevrolet), Kris Tegtmeyer (O’Reilly Auto Parts), Monty Hamilton (Hamilton Auto Sales), Sarah Smith (Honda Training Center), Darin Young (Hittle Buick-GMC), and Ron Fair (Schultz Motors).