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AYES students ready for internships, but more dealers needed

November 23, 2010
Local dealerships that participate in the Automotive Youth Educational Systems program uniformly are pleased with their involvement, but many more dealerships are needed to participate in AYES. Fifteen students who become high school seniors this autumn have been placed at area dealerships for yearlong AYES apprenticeships beginning in June. Another 34 students are qualified for an internship but have not been matched yet. Jim Butcher, the AYES manager for Illinois, said it can be shortsighted for dealers to dwell on today's soft economy as reason to desist. "Taking interns is for the long term, so a dealer can't be focused on what they'd give him today. The idea is to grow your own tech for 2004 or '05," Butcher said. Employing an AYES intern gives dealers the chance to test and evaluate the candidate in actual workplace conditions, before selecting the graduated tech for permanent employment. It also encourages current employees to become role models, thereby reinforcing their own commitment to doing their jobs properly and thoroughly. An obstacle to that grooming process, he said, is the service director who demands immediate results. But AYES interns are just that-interns-so the return on investment is not immediate. Dealers must be able to look beyond the instant gratification that guides some decision-making Butcher and other AYES officials are in the midst of Dealer Mentor Training sessions that instruct the service technicians who will guide an intern. The CATA board of directors moved April 23 to pay the technicians for mentor training on a Saturday, so that workweek productivity is not sacrificed. The CATA board of directors moved April 23 to pay technicians for AYES Dealer Mentor Training on a Saturday, so that workweek productivity is not sacrificed. Dealers in AYES also are obligated to pay $750 for a tool kit valued at $3,000 for the intern. The balance of the money is provided by Snap- On. Before high school graduation, an AYES intern will have logged substantial hours of study in the following: • 95 hours, steering and suspension; • 105 hours, braking systems; • 230 hours, electrical systems; • 220 hours, engine performance and "driveability." Butcher said he will continue to place students until August for this year's apprenticeships. To discuss AYES, call Butcher at 630-424-6020.