Pictured are students Alex Bishop and Ashten Richards working on a vehicle in their intro to automotive class at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. The class spends time dissecting vehicles and learning how to perform tasks like engine and brake maintenance. The Marysville Early College High School, in cooperation with Marysville High School and Hi-Point, will have an automotive technician lab similar to this for the 2019-2020 school year.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Jacob Runnels)
Marysville students will be able to work on cars in a new career pathway due to a partnership among three schools.
Marysville High School (MHS) is partnering with the Early College High School (ECHS) and Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, along with technology provided by Honda, to create an automotive lab that will let students graduate under an auto technician career pathway. Students are taking the theory part of the course now, and will be able to work closely with vehicles in a lab next school year.
The class is part of a satellite program hosted by Hi-Point, which already has an automotive academy. Students now have a choice on which school they want to attend to learn about becoming an automotive technician.
Hi-Point Satellite Supervisor Allison Koch said MHS and ECHS have separate career pathways that are satellites supported by the career center. She said this is Hi-Point’s first satellite program that incorporates a partnership among MHS and the ECHS.
“This allows students at the early college to still get that program and to still learn those skills and still get experience,” Koch said.
Hi-Point Satellite Director Debbie Wortman said it’s typical for Hi-Point to pay for equipment and personnel for a satellite program like auto tech.
Hi-Point Superintendent Rick Smith said this program will cost his district about $358,000 over the course of three years. He said this will go toward teacher salaries, equipment and supplies. He said so far, around $120,000 has been spent so far.
Marysville District Treasurer Todd Johnson said the board accepted a bid from Goodwin Services for $533,272 to construct the lab and will foot that bill. This, along with Hi-Point’s contribution, put the total for both districts around $891,272.
According to articles published by the Journal-Tribune, not including the state grant, nearly $6 million has been spent on renovations for ECHS, including the auto-tech lab.
Wortman said the satellite programs that the career center supports in MHS and ECHS are created out of response from the community.
“Had it not been business and industry pushing so hard, we probably would not have implemented that program,” Wortman said.
Wortman said a student taking the auto tech lab in Marysville or Hi-Point will be able to “have the same end result” and receive the same ASE certification. However, she said schools differ because Hi-Point offers other automotive programs, like a diesel truck pathway.
Smith said both auto tech and Marysville programs come in response to “workforce needs that are greater than the capacity.” He said there are always openings available to take in more students for “a job market that’s so large.”
“We try to help people understand that if you come here and learn what you do with automotive, and that might not be the pathway you want to go, that mechanical aptitude can be applied in a lot of different skill sets,” Smith said.
Automotive instructor Rob Heinze said this class will be similar to the class he teaches at Hi-Point. However, he said the difference between Hi-Point’s and Marysville’s programs will include a “more personalized” approach to learning, as he’ll have a smaller pool of students to teach whom he’s seen at each stage of their high school careers.
“This is a cat of another color,” Heinze said. “We’re limited on the students we bring in. It’s going to just be Marysville, high school, early college or whatever… I don’t have outside schools that are feeding into me, so that will give us some commonality.”
Heinze also said the program at Marysville will be different due to the benefits of having a close relationship with Honda of America and community members to supply equipment and access to certified technicians. He also said this allows local dealerships to contribute to the class.
“I hope for us to be more, in years to come, to be on the cutting edge,” he said. “Yes we must learn the past, but I’m aiming for the future so these guys have better opportunities in the future.”
The auto tech lab is under construction at ECHS, and is slated to be done by the 2019-2020 school year.
Marysville Superintendent Diane Mankins said the auto tech lab and classes will help students “be well on their way to the beginning stages of a career in the autotech field.”
The classes will be held at ECHS, but Mankins said MHS students will be able to take a shuttle to and from class, without causing any time constraints.
Though class schedules between the high school and early college high school aren’t structured the same, she said the class will accommodate a student’s schedule. They would choose to either take the class, which lasts about four periods long, in the morning or afternoon, with shuttle services available.
Mankins said high school and early college students have expressed interest in auto tech professions for years in the learner profiles they complete at the beginning of each school year. She said it’s been an idea in the works for years, as “we wanted to get our ducks in a row.”
“All students are welcome to the auto lab course, and their schedules would be blocked off and they would take their courses at the ECHS building,” Mankins said. “Some of the other programs, you can’t go back and forth. This one, we designed to have the flexibility for that to happen.”
Academic courses would be scheduled opposite of the auto tech class. Mankins explained that a student will still have to make compromises in their schedule because of the large amount of time the auto tech lab will take each day. As an example, she said if a student wants to take AP English, “if it is only offered in the morning, you’ll have to take the lab in the afternoon.” She also said the lab would mostly be comprised of juniors and seniors, as underclassmen need to take the theory courses first.
The superintendent said students in the Marysville School District have a choice of taking the Marysville or Hi-Point auto tech labs. She explained that if a Hi-Point student, who lives in the Marysville School District, wanted to take the Marysville auto tech lab, they would have to switch to taking their academic and career classes at MHS.
“If you came back to take the career part from us, it wouldn’t make sense to attend Hi-Point for the core content,” Mankins said. “They would just come to Marysville High School for their core content and then come to the early college for their lab courses.”
In addition to the auto tech classes students have already taken, Heinze said lab students will be able to understand more than just changing a car’s oil. He said the class will extensively cover the technology of a vehicle and what each part does.
“Sometimes people underestimate what this is about,” Heinze said. “They have to go through the process of learning tools, functions and other components and on a basic, topical level.”
Heinze said he aims to invite graduates of his auto tech course to serve as a part of an advisory council for students in the future.
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