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More dealers needed to pair with AYES interns

November 23, 2010
The facts are these: The economy will rebound, the area's millions of vehicles on the road will need to be serviced,and the average technician is nearly 50 years old. Dealers can groom their next  technicians through the Automotive Youth Educational Systems program. Dozens of area students qualified to begin an AYES internship this summer have not been matched with a dealership. Many dealers cite the soft economy, but dealers should focus beyond the short-term, said Terry D'Arcy, a Joliet dealer and treasurer of the CATA. "You're looking at a three- to fiveyear picture to bring a new technician up to speed," he said. AYES encourages students with a good mechanical aptitude to pursue careers in the ever-changing fields of automotive service technology or collision repair/refinish, and prepares them for entry-level positions or challenging academic options. Participating high schools and vocational- technical schools have ASE-certified automotive programs, and some also have certified collision/refinish programs. Typically, eligible students begin their internships at a dealership on a full-time basis during the summer between their junior and senior years. Under the guidance of a mentor (an experienced technician), they develop technical skills and skills as valuable employees. Upon high school graduation and AYES certification, participating students are prepared to begin fulltime entry-level employment, or to ad- pevance their technical education. Jim Butcher, the AYES manager for Illinois, matches the students with dealerships. An intern works with his mentor on whatever job the mentor faces.When the mentor is confident the intern can perform a particular  repair, he turns the intern loose. Mentors benefit because they get to book the work of the student, who typically earns about $8 an hour. "During their internships at our dealerships, the AYES students learn firsthand what technicians truly do and the level of expertise needed. We've seen how this encourages a large proportion of them to start making plans to pursue college degrees in automotive service technology-they're elevating their own career goals within the automotive field. It's a result that makes us very optimistic about the future supply of qualified technicians," said Joseph Hilger of the DaimlerChrysler Corporation. To discuss AYES, call Butcher at 630-424-6020.