Haywood Community College was recently awarded a NCWorks Career Pathway Grant for more than $68,600. The Changing Gears and Accelerating Transportation Student Success grant will focus on improving Automotive Systems Technology instruction for learners in Western North Carolina.

HCC, Haywood County Schools, Southwestern Workforce Development Board, and regional automotive businesses have worked together to form NCWorks Career Pathways Consortium. The grant project has three objectives:  strengthen and enhance Automotive Systems Technology Consortium; refine and promote the NCWorks Career Pathway for Automotive Systems Technology; and improve advising and instruction for Career Pathway student clientele.

The Automotive Systems Technology program prepares graduates for employment opportunities as an automotive service technician with careers in servicing and operation of brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, steering/suspension, automatic transmission/transaxles, engine repair, climate control, and manual drive trains.   

From this grant, a user friendly web interface will be created to illustrate the benefits of a career pathway for Automotive Systems Technology. In addition, representatives from the consortium will attend professional development events that help teach the national trends and new teaching techniques for Automotive Systems Technology. Participating employers will be offered a stipend to host students for work-based learning experiences.    

For high school students that participate in the Career Pathway for Automotive Systems Technology, they can earn a certificate by the end of their junior year and an intermediate certificate by the end of their senior year. This would result in one semester trimmed off their collegiate career.     

“The dual credit automotive technology classes are some of the most popular that HCC offers to students at our area high schools,” says Matt Heimburg, HCC English and Humanities Program Manager and High School Programs Coordinator. “Taking these classes in high school can reduce the time needed to earn a two year degree by almost two semesters. This grant will help us establish a clear pathway for students between these engaging classes, completing the two-year degree, and future careers at local dealerships, independent service shops, and even entrepreneurship opportunities. Automotive technology careers have good pay, stability, opportunities for growth, and can't be outsourced.”

For more information about HCC’s Automotive Systems Technology program, please call Rick Wolfe at 828-565-4290. For more information about the high school Career Pathway for Automotive Systems Technology, please call 828-627-4679.