Magazine article Techniques

Middle Bucks Institute of Technology

Magazine article Techniques

Middle Bucks Institute of Technology

Article excerpt

As a regional career development and technology center, Middle Bucks Institute of Technology in Jamison, Pa., provides both high school students and adults with advanced technical training. The center serves the Centennial, Central Bucks, Council Rock and New Hope/Solebury school districts.

For high school students in grades 10, 11 and 12, Middle Bucks Institute of Technology (MBIT) offers 22 different career and technical education programs in 10 cluster areas. The adult education program has customized industry-training programs that are held as both daytime and evening courses throughout the year.

The MBIT automotive career cluster includes automotive technology and automotive collision technology. Both programs are ASE/NATEF accredited, and both participate in the Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) program. This means that the MBIT program operates in partnership with major automotive manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and Volkswagen. It also means almost guaranteed employment as an entry-level technician with a local automotive dealer for students who successfully complete the AYES program.

MBIT automotive instructor Troy Miller says of AYES, "This is a pretty serious initiative, and one that's not going away." One of the main reasons he cites is the manufacturer support, which stems from an understanding that the future of the industry depends upon the quality of the training being provided today. Manufacturers want to ensure that the training is of the highest quality.

Students in the MBIT automotive technology and automotive collision programs work full time in participating dealerships for 10 weeks during the summer between 11th and 12th grades, which is typical for AYES students. As seniors, they continue to work in the dealerships during the school year.

Another aspect of AYES is the guidance of industry professionals, so the MBIT students are provided with mentors who are experienced technicians. "These students who are working in the field with mentors are not being treated like parts boys," explains Miller. "They're working as apprentices."

This guidance helps young students develop both technical skills and employability skills.

Because of the technology involved in today's automobiles, there is a lot more training required. Miller was in the U.S. Navy for 28 years, where he worked as an aircraft mechanic. Now he is seeing more and more of the technology that is in our most sophisticated military fighters turning up in cars. "A lot of the aviation technology has transitioned into the automobile," he says.

A PROMISING FUTURE

In recognition of its strong connections between business and industry and the emphasis the program places on project-based learning, MBIT's AYES program was named a Promising Program in 2001 by the National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education.

In the automotive technology program, MBIT students may complete up to eight ASE technician certification exams, and ASE will validate their industry credentials after they have completed one year of related work experience. Students can also receive special training to prepare them for the Pennsylvania state safety inspection, air conditioning recovery licenses and Pennsylvania ASM 50/15-OBD II emission certification.

Students in the automotive collision technology program may complete up to five ASE certification exams, and--as in the automotive technology program--after one year of related work experience, ASE will validate their industry credentials. …

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