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Automotive Technology Students Learning Alternative Fuels Technology

Thursday, July 18, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

AUTThe Texas State Technical College Automotive Technology (AUT) program is answering the call of industry, and in the process, helping the planet go green.

AUT students and instructors received Alternative Fuels Training this week at the Harlingen campus. The training was put on by instructors from the TSTC West Texas campus in Sweetwater.

Sweetwater AUT Program Chairman Si Acuña said their program applied for an Alternative Fuels grant over a year ago. The department received the grant and was mandated to host trainings for other campuses and industry in that year and a half.

Acuña and another instructor from Sweetwater came to Harlingen this week along with a Toyota Prius Hybrid, two diesel trucks, a 2011 F-250 and a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado Duramax. Acuña also brought a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) engine.

After spending half the day in the classroom listening to a lecture on alternative fuels, the students spend the rest of the day working on the four trainers for hands-on experience.

Brownsville native and first-year student Samuel Reyes said the training is invaluable and would make the students more attractive to potential employers.

“After everything we’ve learned here, we’ll be 100 percent ready to get to work once we graduate,” said Reyes, 21. “What we’re doing here today, a lot of people haven’t experienced yet.”

Acuña said technology like hybrids, CNGs and diesel have been around for some time but with industry taking a turn into being environment-friendly, the workforce needs to be trained and in some case retrained in the new technology.

`”The students are going to be more versatile,” Acuña said.

TSTC Harlingen AUT Program Chair Abel Castillo was elated at the opportunity his students and instructors took advantage of during this training.

“We’re keeping up with industry,” Castillo said. “We’re learning safety…the do’s and don’ts of working with hybrids and disassembling the cars.”

Castillo said about 30 students took advantage of the training. The students also received a certificate for the training and CEU (Continuing Education Units) credit for the training.


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