Improving Automotive Technician Training Through a Flexible Industry Apprenticeship Program
Demand for skilled automotive technicians continues to grow, providing new opportunities for students to join the technical workforce. As technological innovations in the automotive industry continue to increase rapidly, the education of technicians needs to keep pace. This project will support the development of a flexible apprenticeship program in which students will be concurrently employed by an industry partner and enrolled in an automotive technology program. The proposed "earn and learn" model will engage Columbus State Community College and industry partners in the technical education of automotive technicians. The project will support the upskilling of incumbent workers and recruiting of high school students to increase the number of skilled technicians who can support the automotive industry.
The goals of this project are to expand the participation of industry in an experiential student learning model and to meet industry's demand for more automotive technicians by partnering with local dealerships and regional high schools. This project will implement an Automotive Fast Track Apprenticeship program that will be jointly developed with industry partners. Based on an earn and learn model design, the apprenticeship program will include foundational technical coursework and field experience. Outreach efforts to recruit students will focus on three target populations: high school students, current Columbus State students in the automotive program, and incumbent workers in jobs at dealerships. A new financial literacy and professional development workshop will be developed to address topics such as completing a FAFSA, managing personal finances, and acquiring tools as a technician. Automotive technology labs will be upgraded with advanced diagnostic equipment that will help increase the capacity of the labs to accommodate more students and provide students with experiences using the latest technology. The project will use institutional data, surveys, and student interviews to assess the impact of the project on students and industry partners.