FORT PIERCE — Indian River State College (IRSC) Automotive Technology students now have three additional pieces of automotive repair equipment, valued at more than $13,000, on which to train, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company’s Technician Career Program.
Ford dealerships on the Treasure Coast have demonstrated ongoing support of IRSC students, providing around 80 Ford and Lincoln service-training modules for the College’s Automotive Technology program, said Christopher Groh, Southeast Area Coordinator for Ford Technician Career Programs. To recognize the company’s regional partnerships with schools like IRSC, Ford raffled some surplus equipment, and IRSC won the raffle, Groh said.
On Thursday, May 25, Groh delivered a Pro-Cut Brake Lathe, used for shaping uneven brake disks; a Robinair Refrigerant Recycling Machine, used to remove, hold, and replace air conditioning refrigerant while diagnosing the a/c system; and a hand-held battery tester.
Students in the IRSC Automotive Technology take the Environmental Protection Agency’s 609 Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning (MVAC) exam. Once they pass the exam, they receive a federal certification allowing them to work on automotive and other mobile air conditioning systems. The Robinair machine will help them obtain the certification, Groh said. Ford is seeking to add around 6,000 new automotive technicians each year, he said. “There’s a huge need, especially in Florida,” he said.
“We take a lot of pride in our training programs,” said Eduard Tautiva, a Technical Placement Specialist who helps Ford recruit automotive technicians. “We believe in investing in colleges like IRSC because this generation — they are our future technicians. They have to combine the old technology with the new, and prepare the technicians for the real world.”
According to Instructor Brian Woodrow, IRSC graduates around 30 students each year in its Automotive Technology program. “Because they complete so many Ford training modules, the local Ford dealers love our graduates,” Woodrow said. “They show up on the job with a leg up.”
The Automotive Technology program will move to the new Eastman Advanced Workforce Training Complex on the Massey Campus in Fort Pierce this summer. The state-of-the-art, 60,000-square-foot facility will also house programs in aviation and marine technology; welding; and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility will take place later this year.
For information about IRSC Workforce Education programs, visit www.irsc.edu.