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AYES interns await matches with area dealers

November 22, 2010
Fifty-five apprentice technicians from six high schools stand ready for yearlong internships at area dealerships, as part of the Automotive Youth Educational Systems program. What're needed now are dealerships to pair with the students. By their high school graduations, the AYES interns will have completed the following training periods: Braking systems, 105 hours; Steering and Suspension, 95 hours; Electrical/Electronics, 230 hours; Engine Performance/ Driveability, 220 hours. More than 850 students are enrolled in automotive programs at the six AYES-certified high schools; the 55 students eligible for an AYES internship have met qualifying requirements, including • Recommendation of all of their automotive instructors • Completed résumé  • Exemplary attendance and employability Skills • Exemplary initiative and dependability Skills • Identified the automotive industry as a career choice • Willing to submit to drug testing • No school discipline referrals (home or vocational schools) • Acceptable home schools grades • Clean driving record "These students are truly the best of their automotive programs," said Jim Butcher, the AYES manager for Illinois. "These 55 eligible students have qualified for an AYES internship due to their superior skills and based on the recommendations of their automotive instructors. "It's my belief that these interns will far exceed the dealers' expectations" for student technicians. Mentors, typically journeyman technicians, help the students during their internships. The Porter County (Ind.) Career Center, which serves all nine county school districts, houses the Porter County Vocational School and the Porter County Alternative Program. The center in January became the area's sixth high school to gain AYES certification, joining Currie Metropolitan High School and Farragut Career Academy in Chicago, Lake County Technology Campus in Grayslake, Technology Center of DuPage in Addison, and Hammond (Ind.) Area Career Center. Parkland Community College, in Champaign, this month becomes the seventh high school in Illinois and northwest Indiana to gain AYES certification. Industry forecasts point to an industry shortage of 65,000 technicians, as the workforce ages. The AYES program is a great way to "grow your own," Butcher said. The AYES program is important because 25 percent of 18-year-olds say they already have selected a career path. Exposing the interns to dealership work could sway them to a career there. "Dealer participation is absolutely vital to this program," said Terry D'Arcy, the CATA director who is leading the association's AYES participation. "The benefits for dealers from AYES are enormous. From what I've seen, investment in this program is returned tenfold." To discuss the AYES program, call Butcher at the CATA offices at 630-424- 6020.