Training high-tech mechanics

While New York City is junking auto shop, Minnesota is expanding opportunities for students to train as auto mechanics. The Star-Tribune reports:

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.

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  1. Ken Two says:

    “Shop” in California’s middle and high schools was common in the 1960’s but went away gradually thereafter. In looking for some technicians for a client I made recruiting calls to community colleges and discovered many technical programs in HVAC, Diesel and Electronics. Program instructors have become proficient in getting donations from industry suppliers and manufacturers to enhance the program for the students. The instructors report that there are still the mix of engaged and not so engaged students. The good ones get snapped up by BMW and Big Three dealerships plus transport companies and start off around $40K. Considering that’s only $5K less than a newly minted engineer after four years and a $100K college experience – no wonder these tech courses are popular.

  2. I tend to agree, our local comm. college has an AAS degree in Automotive, and it comes out to about 75 credit hours and if you add in books, etc, the total cost comes out to about 5500 for the two years.

    However, the students who take these courses have to work their rear ends off, and if they pass, they are well prepared to pass ASE exams in various areas of automotive repair (these exams are very hard, and are just as high tech as anything that I have to do on a computer

    Just my two cents worth (if the kids can get this in high school, and keep up with their regular classwork, more power to ’em).