Jose Avila; Raul Luevano

The Automotive Technology program at Texas State Technical College is improving its educational resources with two new online manufacturer-specific trainings: Toyota Technician Education College Support (TECS) and the Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP).

The TECS program will offer students e-learning modules with an online library of repair and training information. These resources will qualify a student to become a Lexus certified technician or a Toyota maintenance-level certified technician.

CAP is a specialization through a partnership between Stellantis (formerly Chrysler LLC) and TSTC. The curriculum is designed by Chrysler and TSTC. It will provide hands-on training for students regarding the latest vehicles and other components.

The Ford Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) program was implemented two years ago and will continue. It is a partnership between the Ford Motor Company, Ford or Lincoln dealerships, and secondary and postsecondary educational institutions.

Miguel Zoleta, a TSTC automotive lead instructor, said he hopes more companies will provide additional manufacturer-specific trainings.

“Students will have the option to choose one, or they can pursue all three,” he said. “These will be beneficial for our graduates when they enter the workforce.”

Raul Luevano, a TSTC automotive instructor, remarked how students will benefit from the partnership programs.

“The online trainings will help them gain a better understanding of how to diagnose and repair their brand of vehicles,” he said.

Similar to the ACE program, the new resources will cover general automotive knowledge: brakes, steering and suspension, air conditioning, electrical, engine performance, engine repair, and topics related to hybrid, fully electric and some diesel vehicles.

Each training has more than 100 modules and will be self-paced. A student will earn a certificate upon completion of each component.

Scholarship opportunities are also provided by Ford each semester. A certain number of modules must be completed to qualify based on the number of courses in which the student is enrolled.

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.

The need for qualified automotive service technicians and mechanics 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 in the state is $45,520.

For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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