(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Technology in vehicles changes often.
To keep up with new technology, Texas State Technical College Automotive Technology students have a new vehicle to work on during lab sessions in Sweetwater. The college recently purchased a 2018 Dodge Charger through Performance-Based Education funds for students to learn the newer technology.
“There is a lot of newer technology in this vehicle than all of the others we have in the shop,” instructor Gerod Strother said. “Now students will be able to work on the vehicle while learning how this newer technology is installed.”
The vehicle features both front and rear cameras, and adaptive cruise control that slows the vehicle down when it is following too close to another vehicle.
“Students have not worked on these features before, so this is a great way for them to enhance their skills,” Strother said.
Since the car’s arrival, students have used a scanner to read different functions and diagnose issues.
“There are so many computers in these vehicles, and it will help me to know what is going on,” student Joseph Fredericks said. “The technology in automobiles is changing every year, and it is good to stay up with the times.”
Fredericks said working on newer-model vehicles, especially a Charger, will help him when he begins interviewing for jobs.
“If employers know I have an understanding of how these systems work, that will go far when it comes to finding a job,” he said.
Student Brady Kennemur said having a newer training vehicle will also help future students.
“This is a blessing for us and future students to be able to train on this vehicle,” he said. “It has all of these new sensors in it that we have not been able to work on. It is one thing to be able to read about them in a book, but to work on them with our hands is even better.”
Instructor William Parker said program graduates will be better in the workplace by having spent time working on the Charger.
“For students to be able to access this type of vehicle with the information it has is great. It will only make our students better technicians in the future,” he said.
The need for qualified technicians is expected to grow in Texas over the next several years. According to onetonline.org, Texas has more than 60,000 technicians employed around the state, and that number is forecast to top 65,000 by 2028. The average annual salary for a technician is $45,520.
TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and an Automotive Technician certificate of completion at the Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco campuses. Several other certificates, including Chrysler Specialization, Tesla START Technician and Toyota T-TEN Specialization, and a Basic Automotive occupational skills award, are also available, depending on campus location.
TSTC’s Performance-Based Education initiative helps students focus on specific industry skills and places an emphasis on hands-on learning in the lab environment.
Registration for the fall semester is underway. Scholarships are available. For more information, visit tstc.edu.