In a recent press release, Ford tells us that it is expanding a training program for community colleges in two exciting ways. First, it will include three new community colleges so that more students can learn the skills needed to work on today’s vehicles. Perhaps more importantly (especially for our readers), Ford is expanding the program to include battery electric vehicles (BEVs).
Ford’s program, called Automotive Student Service Educational Training (or ASSET), has been around since 1985, and more than 12,000 students have taken the program at various community colleges in the United States. Not only are Ford and Lincoln involved in helping community colleges provide better training for the next generation of mechanics, but they’re also partnering with local dealerships to ensure there’s a place for young adults to learn. hands-on experience and networking with people already working in the industry.
“My experience with ASSET has been great,” says Josh Lilley, ASSET student at Five Star Ford in Dallas, Texas. “As far back as I can remember, I tinkered with my dad’s first-generation Bronco. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone pursuing an automotive career at the dealership. It’s such a great program, especially if you don’t know anything, they’ll sit you down and help you develop those skills. I learned so much more than I ever thought I would need or know.
This year, the program will be implemented at these three community colleges:
- Pima Community College, Tucson AZ
- Wake Technical College, Raleigh, North Carolina
- Gwinnett Technical College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
When these programs begin, they will not only do what ASSET has always done, but they will also teach students what it takes to do a good, safe job on electric vehicles. Classes will include:
- Safety of high voltage systems
- Components and operation of the hybrid vehicle
- Components and Operation of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)
- High voltage battery service
- Operation and diagnosis of hybrid and electric vehicles
Ford doesn’t just ship books either. The company will also send 25 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for students to use at dealerships and community colleges to gain hands-on experience with these systems.
“The ASSET program puts these kids in the classroom and then in the stall applying it. For me, getting these two at the same time is going to give the dealership better technician retention and the student better understanding of the information,” says Josh Fichter, general manager, Five Star Ford in North Richland Hills, Texas. Fichter adds, “It also breeds loyalty, because if you don’t proactively develop your own techs right now, you’re going to find yourself in a world of pain.”
If a student completes the entire two-year program, they come away with a lot of training and experience. Not only do they have an associate’s degree upon completion, but they also have the opportunity to earn all of Ford’s Specialized Service Technician Training (STST) credentials, as well as a year of experience. hands-on work at a real dealership working on real cars. This means that not only do they have a good chance of working at that dealership, but they can drive to other Ford dealerships or just about anywhere else with EVs in the store to earn a living wage. .
Another thing Ford is adding to the program is certification for mobile service technicians. This gives people another avenue to work their way through the industry, and eventually complete the entire program if they decide to become a full tech.
Why I think programs like this are important
There’s an old Waylon Jennings song that sums up what most people think about raising their child.
“Moms, don’t let your babies become cowboys. Don’t let them choose guitars or drive old trucks.
Whether they are doctors, lawyers and others.
Everyone wants their boys to go earn big bucks working in a high-prestige field, or their sons to go do something safe, like work in a 9-to-5 booth five days a week. Many of us don’t want our kids to take on very adventurous jobs like policing or firefighting, and many of us don’t want our kids to “suffer” doing manual labor for a career.
But, as Andrew Yang points out, this approach doesn’t work so well for American boys. We pushed them into college, and hard, but a lot of them just aren’t interested or burn out trying. In fact, boys just don’t complete high school as much as girls these days. This leaves them with a bad future:
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t get better when the boys become adults. Men now represent only 40.5% of students. Male community college enrollment declined 14.7% in 2020 alone, compared to 6.8% for females. Median wages for men have declined since 1990 in real terms. About a third of men are unemployed or inactive. More American men aged 18 to 34 now live with their parents than with romantic partners.
He shares a lot of even worse things for men in the article, and I recommend you check it out, especially if you’re a parent. They not only miss careers, but also love relationships and families. This leads to despair, crime and violence.
Programs like this, while good for boys, girls, or whatever identity exists, are what many young men are looking for. Many of them like to work with their hands and want a challenge. Besides, you should be a complete idiot if you think young people don’t like cars. It’s a great mix that can not only fulfill many young men, but also give them a living wage. With that decent salary, they can find a decent person to date and marry, and maybe start a family.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see my kids succeed as mechanics working on electric cars and helping clean up the planet than burn out halfway through a 4-year degree they hate and end up living at home until they’re 35 and finally find something they love.
So, I think news like this is fantastic both for young people and for our society as a whole. Ford deserves our full support here.
Featured image: Students learning to work on a Ford vehicle in an ASSET class. Picture of Ford.
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