Growing numbers of high school students are learning the ins and outs of the increasingly computerized and complex field of automotive mechanics, according to a leading teacher in the field.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is committed to training the next generation of mechanics and encouraging young people to carve out a career in the field.
This is important as there may be a shortfall in the numbers of automotive mechanics needed in the future, according to Michael Lehn, Minnesota ASE industry education alliance manager. He also works with students in North and South Dakota.
"We want to tell young people this is a real career path to success," Lehn told Mega Dealer News.
Certificates from the ASE can be earned in high school, but there is also the opportunity of being exposed directly to working in dealerships and auto shops.
"High school automotive students generally spend their junior and senior year learning about today's highly computerize cars by spending time learning classroom theory and practical lab exercises," Lehn said.
This is so they can become familiar with various systems under the under the hood and inside the car, he added. Lehn noted that the recommended accreditation for secondary programs is called maintenance and light repair.
This involves 192 tasks that require the student to become familiar with the vehicles' brakes, suspension, steering, electrical, and electronics. They are also introduced to the engine mechanical transmission, heating, air conditioning and engine performance.
"As the high school student approaches graduation and consider employment, as well as continuing on to post-secondary education, there is a federal requirement called technical skill assessment," Lehn said. This is essentially that they have ASE certification, he said.
Nationally, 42,500 students were involved in technical skill assessments to determine if they were successful in their classes, Lehn said.