Bloomingdale – a local company is “Team”Participation in the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School’s Automotive Service Technology Program on projects that prove mutually profitable for both groups.
TEAM Automotive Group of Steubenville implemented the Toyota Technical Education College Support Program last fall, which allows AST students to finish online modules to earn a general maintenance certification and workforce advantage. Juniors Jerome Konicker and Elijah Foster have completed the course and are hired while eight other students are enrolled in the program.
Ryan Westling, director of fixed operations, said the company has partnered with JVS and students who have completed TECS are being hired as full-time workers. They received TEAM apparel and $100 gift cards for their participation from company officials and Westling said the purpose of the collaboration was to provide marketable employees to meet the industry’s growing needs.
“We are a huge fan of JVS,” He added that there is a shortage of work. “They can make a great living and technicians are badly needed.”
Konicker and Foster, who completed the online program in 10 days, said they are grateful for the experience with TEAM as well as their education at JVS.
“it’s great,” Coniker said. “(AST Instructor Ron) Reasoner also has a lot of knowledge he shared and really helps me give me opportunities and build relationships.”
“Love her,” The skills he gained in JVS definitely prepared him, Foster added. “(It helped with) learning how to do all the tasks I do at work. I wouldn’t have known all of that without being here.”
TEAM also donated the V-6 powertrain engine and A/C compressor to help train students so they become familiar with some of the most up-to-date components.
The engines were purchased from various locations and donated to schools and for internships with dealer technicians, but this was a first for JVS, said Rob Felt, field technical specialist and Toyota Auto Sales representative in the USA. AST students will have the opportunity to learn how to repair an engine so that they can do the same when working in the real world.
“This will be used to train students next year and for years to come.” he added.
Al-Raqali said the Toyota program and the engine donation would give his students an opportunity to prepare for the field.
“This is a training platform that gives them the ability to practice concepts. It is very important to have the equipment on hand when training them on certain components,” Reason added. “(Having the engine) is a great opportunity for the students. It helps teach them the latest and greatest technology and we will definitely be using it next year.”
The local agent has seven JVS alumni working full-time at the local facilities as well as three current students and officials who invite other students and their families to visit for a behind-the-scenes look at the operations to determine if it is a future career option.
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