School Bus Fleet

July 2014

A management & maintenance magazine for school transportation fleets

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20 S C H O O L B U S F L E E T • J U L Y 2 0 1 4 Anderson adds that, at about 23 years old, program participants have about four years of hands-on experi- ence and a degree in automotive tech- nology, which is an advantage not many other job applicants have at that age. One example is Tyler Huston, a for- mer apprentice and now master tech- nician at Adams 12 Five Star Schools. He took the two-year automotive pro- gram in high school and then attend- ed college part time and worked in the shop part time, handling small repairs and shadowing mechanics. While at- tending college he also earned his Au- tomotive Service Excellence (ASE) cer- tifcation and was hired full time by the district. The biggest value of the program, Huston says, is that it allows students to get started in a career and work their way up. "I'm 24 years old, and I already have eight years into our retirement pro- gram," Huston adds. Helping students fnd a career path The Dallas (Texas) County Schools (DCS) co-op program began in 2005. A Skyline High School auto shop teacher was interested in starting a program that would give juniors and seniors a place to work part time during their last years of school, and the teach- er discussed the possibility with the district, says Paul Jacobs, senior feet manager. The program is designed for stu- dents seeking a career in vehicle care and maintenance, with training pro- vided by various vendors holding classes several times during the year to accommodate students' schedules. Students learn about basic preventive maintenance and about more techni- cal jobs from lead technicians and the shop foreman, Jacobs explains. Annually, there are 10 to 12 Sky- line High School students who work for DCS through the program, Jacobs says. They learn the trade, earn extra money, and in some cases are hired by DCS after they graduate. DCS When he was starting out as a me- chanic, Anderson went through a two- year apprenticeship and used that experience to get his associate and bachelor's degrees while working at Cherry Creek. Years later, when he became a feet manager, he partnered with that district's automotive pro- gram to start a student apprenticeship program as a way to give back. Junior- and senior-year high school students are interviewed and selected for the automotive program, which entails completing a minimum num- ber of hours learning about transmis- sions, engines, steering and brakes. Once they graduate from high school, participants are required to get an as- sociate degree in automotive technol- ogy while working for the district. "By the end of three or four years, if they are a junior, they've got their two- year degree and three or four years of hands-on experience," Anderson ex- plains. Cherry Creek has hired two of its apprentices. Others have found posi- tions in local automotive, truck or bus shops, not only benefting the trans- portation department but also vari- ous businesses. The program grooms the students to be good employees and provides an additional application pool, Vann- Jackson says. She cites as an exam- ple Casey Middleton, a mechanic for TPS who started his career in the pro- gram and recently won frst place as America's Best School Bus Inspector at the National Association for Pupil Transportation's School Bus Techni- cian Training and Skills Competition. David Anderson, director of trans- portation and feet for Colorado's Ad- ams 12 Five Star Schools, agrees that the extra manpower from an appren- ticeship he founded is a major beneft, especially since there are now signif- cantly fewer candidates applying than just a few years ago. "I used to get 50 applications if I had an opening; now I am happy if I get 10," he says. Giving back Since he wanted to help young peo- ple in the feld advance as he once had, Anderson established apprenticeship programs at Colorado's Cherry Creek School District in 1995 and Adams 12 Five Star Schools in 2006 to train the next generation of mechanics. SHOP INTERNSHIPS Brainerd (Minn.) Public Schools' Paul Bunyan Transition Plus Program teaches special-needs students ages 18 to 21 independent living and job skills. The bus shop plays an integral role by having them detail the district's vehicles.

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