By IAN MUNRO
Daily News-Record 1/23/19
HARRISONBURG — Massanutten Technical Center’s high school automotive training course welcomed a new car into its fleet Tuesday morning.
The 2013 Ford Focus was donated by Harrisonburg Ford and will be the studied in- depth by students.
The donation system is a simple process, said Kevin Hutton, MTC’s director.
“We try to make it as easy as we can,” he said.
Donated cars are typically fixed up and then auctioned to raise money for the program, Hutton said.
A separate fate, though, awaits this vehicle.
The donation is a welcome addition to the course’s collection because of the car’s modernity, Hutton said.
“[ Students] will learn new computer diagnosis,” said Hutton, “everything is run by a computer now.”
Along with the car, Ford donated the necessary computer lessons so that students can constantly be learning about the car, whether they are under the hood or behind a screen.
The donation is part of Ford’s Automotive Career Exploration program, said Ron Uthus, service director of Harrisonburg Ford.
The lessons offered through Ford’s ACE program are a subset of the same courses that Ford and Lincoln dealership employees access, according to Ford’s website. Harrisonburg Ford is sponsoring MTC for the program to work.
Dennis Moyers, automotive technology instructor of 21 years at MTC, said his goal is to turn his 60 students every year into “productive citizens for our community.”
After two years in the program, students can earn Automotive Service Excellence certification, and, in three years of study, students can earn even more certifications, Moyers said.
The ASE certification is for automotive professionals to show their level of expertise when looking for a job, according to the website of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
“It’s basically all under the national requirements for college and us,” Moyers said, “we’re just a prep for going to work or going for further education.”
The program teaches the same material to high- schoolers as community colleges would teach their students, Moyers said.
Graduates from MTC’s auto training courses have gone on to places such as Nashville Auto- Diesel College, Ohio Technology, Universal Technical Institute and the University of Northwestern Ohio, Moyers said.
The University of Northwestern Ohio will accept credits earned at MTC to go toward college credits, Moyers said.
Students also can graduate and immediately go to work, said Chris Dalton, assistant director of MTC. Many businesses, such as Caliber Collision and K. A. R. Towing and Repair, partner with the tech center and “they come to us looking for skilled workers,” Dalton said.
Automotive training is popular with Harrisonburg and Rockingham County high school students, regularly filling up its capacity of 60 students and frequently has a wait list, Dalton said.
MTC, jointly run by Harrisonburg City and Rockingham County public schools, also offers adult education and certification classes.