Skilled to Work: Advanced Automotive Technology Program

Wade Bucy is juggling more than just high school.

The Bob Jones High School student is participating in Calhoun Community College’s dual enrollment program. In the program, he’s able to get college credits while earning a certification in Automotive Technology. 

“By the end of high school, I would be one summer short of an associate’s degree in auto mechanics,” said Bucy. “So I’d finish that out and probably go to a four-year college.”

Bucy said he hasn’t pinned down a career plan just yet, but he’s already ahead of the game. 

“It’s really hands-on, we’re actually getting to break down and rebuild an engine, which is great,” said Bucy. 

Leah Pleinis is a student at Calhoun Community College. The Automotive Technology Program has allowed her to pinpoint her next career move. 

“I kind of want to go into automotive engineering even, but I wanted to know how everything worked,” said Pleinis. 

Technician and instructor, Lewis Nall, said the opportunities in this program are endless. Cutting-edge equipment allows students to leave the program with the needed certifications and training. 

“We have a partnership with Ford, Mercedes, and Volvo,” said Nall. “Which means our students get factory training, just like those techs would, as they’re going through our program.”

Students are getting Ford factory training, but that’s not all. Mercedes is also giving students the opportunity to be certified ‘First Level Technicians.’ 

A guaranteed entry to working in automotive technology. 

“The program is set up 60/80 percent hands-on and then the rest is bookwork because you need to understand the theory and you also have to know how to educate yourself,” said Nall. “One of the things about being a technician is cars are constantly changing and training ourselves as we move on.”

Bucy and Pleinis have two different career paths, but the program opens the doors to different opportunities in automotive technology. 

“When I heard about this program I was like I’m definitely going to do that the last two years of high school,” said Bucy.

The program also offers internships to individuals that are also working. Starting in January, students will be able to enter the program at any time during the course of the year.

Nall said he wants to double the number of people in the program. 

Students who fully complete the Automotive Technology Program will receive an associate’s degree in Applied Science. 

If you’re interested in the program, you can learn more here. 

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