Automotive and Machine Repair
The increasing popularity of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles is driving demand for expertise and knowledge specific to these technologies at automotive shops across the country.
To help meet this demand, twenty-four Job Corps Automotive and Machine Repair programs purchased a hybrid vehicle to use for training purposes.
At the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Center, the repair of hybrid vehicles, incorporation of waterborne paint, and new equipment are just a few of the program changes that will prepare students for career opportunities.
"It's important to learn about hybrid cars now because they're the future of where the car industry is headed," said Antoine Sorrells, Automotive and Machine Repair student at Earle C. Clements. "Hopefully, by learning about this new green technology, we can have secure jobs in the future."
Hybrid cars and advanced training are provided as part of the hybrid education segment of the Automotive and Machine Repair program at Clements. Students learn about the different systems and parts of the car, how to repair them, and how these vehicles differ from gasoline-fuel vehicles.
Environmentally friendly waterborne car paint will be mandated by the automotive industry in 2014, but many body shops and car manufacturers are already transitioning away from traditional car paint. Clements' Automotive and Machine Repair program is giving its students a head start in obtaining employment by providing waterborne painting instruction now. Waterborne paints contain significantly fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than conventional, solvent-based paints, thereby reducing VOC emissions and worker exposure to hazardous air pollutants.
Automotive and Machine Repair students across the nation are learning core practices to reduce the environmental impact of their shops, such as proper disposal of various part components, including asbestos brakes, automotive fluids, antifreeze, grease, and brake fluid.
These students learn about advanced tools and equipment such as the Automatic Cleaning System Parts Washer, which uses water at high temperatures and pressures to complete the cleaning process, eliminating the need for caustic chemicals.
Job Corps partnered with the United Auto Workers - Labor Employment and Training Corporation to offer an advanced Hybrid Electric Vehicle program, preparing graduates for in-demand jobs that require mastery of specialized tasks.
Automotive and Machine Repair students at the Edison Job Corps Center are working to understand the differences in maintaining full-hybrid and belt alternator starter (BAS)-hybrid vehicles. Students are also learning to maintain and replace batteries on hybrid vehicles.
"BAS hybrids don't use a full generator, but rather a 36-volt battery, to power accessories in the car like air conditioning, the radio, and lights in the car," said Victor Vargas, Automotive and Machine Repair student at the Edison Job Corps Center. "Full-hybrid vehicles use the battery to move the entire vehicle, allowing the car to run on a battery up to 18 MPH before the gas-fueled engine kicks in."
Job Corps is ensuring that each step of the training process prepares students for work in shops, factories, and dealerships. As the market for these skills expands, Job Corps will be ready to fill those jobs, providing well-trained mechanics who possess the skills and environmental awareness necessary to be successful.
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