(SWEETWATER, Texas) – A fast-track program to teach basic automotive skills will be taught at Texas State Technical College this fall.

Sweetwater Automotive Technology instructor Gerod Strother will teach the 15-week Occupational Skills Award (OSA) program. The OSA is part of TSTC’s Rapid Industry Skills and Employability (RISE) program that helps students learn skills quickly in order to start a career.

“This class will teach students the basics that can get them a job that pays $10 to $15 per hour,” Strother said. “People who have this certification can find employment at a quick-service automotive business or at a dealership where they can be paired with a veteran mechanic.”

Strother said this program would be especially helpful for a student who completes the program and works at a dealership. They would gain the knowledge to expand their skills.“They would probably work with the mechanic for six months to a year. Once the mechanic is confident in their abilities, they would add to the employee’s responsibilities.”

Strother said students interested in the program do not need any mechanical experience.

“They need to be willing to learn quickly,” he said.

Students will begin by taking Introduction to Automotive Technology. This course focuses on automotive history, safety practices, shop equipment and tools, vehicle subsystems, service publications, professional responsibilities and basic automotive maintenance.

“Some people only want to know the basics and get a job. This will help fill our workforce needs in the automotive industry,” Strother said.

Students will also take the Automotive Brake Systems course, in which they will learn the operation and repair of the braking system. Strother will review brake theory, diagnosis, repairing the power anti-lock braking system, and parking brakes.

The final course will be Automotive Suspension and Steering Systems. In addition to steering systems, students will learn alignment procedures, and tire and wheel service techniques.

“A lot of people do not want to be tied down to one specific area of a vehicle, like the transmission. This program will provide some range for students,” Strother said.

One goal that Strother set for himself is to have students return to earn additional certification or an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“I hope once they complete the program they come back and want to learn more. I would like to see students become certified,” he said. “Having the Automotive Service Excellence certification will open the door for them.”

TSTC is offering several Occupational Skills Award programs this fall. With unemployment increasing in Texas, TSTC is partnering with business and industry through the RISE program to get Texans back to work. The short-term, skills-focused courses provide students with the ability to gain basic technical skills to start an entry-level career.

For more information on the Occupational Skills Award courses, visit https://www.tstc.edu/programslist/rise.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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