While the St. Paul High School Automotive Service Center at Monroe Community School has been around in some form for about 30 years, this year the newly accredited center will start churning out certified young mechanics. The center is open to all St. Paul high school students. It joins seven other Minnesota high school programs transforming their auto shop classes into professional training programs
It’s all part of a push by the auto industry, school districts and technical colleges to pull more promising students into an increasingly high-tech career, educators say.
Some college-bound students take the classes, along with students who want to move quickly into the workforce. Students can earn certificates in brake repair, steering and suspension, electrical systems and engine performance. They also can earn college and trade-school credits. And they get help finding summer jobs at garages and dealerships.
Update: Why are there so many Hmong students in the program? Brian Hoffman sent me a link to a “rice boy” page. He also notes that 30 percent of St. Paul students are Hmong. You wouldn’t think Southeast Asians would be a natural in Minnesota, but Lutheran charities there sponsored a number of early Hmong refugees, who were joined by relatives.