ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — A new partnership with Ford Motor Company, Foley-based Moyer Ford and Baldwin County Public Schools is poised to put students miles ahead when it comes to competing for the best automotive technician jobs. Baldwin County Public Schools is the first system in Alabama to offer the opportunity.
“I am ecstatic to share details about this partnership that provides an unbelievable opportunity for our career technical students to learn through a partnership with our South Baldwin Center for Technology, Ford Motor and our friends at the local dealership, Moyer Ford,” said Baldwin County School Superintendent Eddie Tyler.
Ford Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) is a program being developed with the objective to “increase the quality and quantity of high school students entering post-secondary education, and ultimately the automotive technician career.”
This will result in more credentialed post-secondary graduates available to Ford and Lincoln dealerships as entry technicians.
“I am very excited about our partnership, and I look forward to building a strong relationship between Moyer Ford, Ford Motor Company and South Baldwin Career Technology in Robertsdale,” said Bethany Toups, field service engineer Ford Motor Company.
Officials with Ford Motor Company and Foley-based Moyer Ford met with school officials Friday for a press conference at the South Baldwin Center for Technology in Robertsdale.
“There is a huge need for technicians in our industry today,” said Richard Moyer, president of Moyer Ford, “and I am proud to be a part of this partnership with Baldwin County schools to fill that need,” said Richard Moyer, president of Moyer Ford.”
According to a joint press release issued Friday by Baldwin County Schools and Ford Motor Company, the objectives of the program include:
• Increase awareness of Ford and Lincoln dealership career opportunities for high school students, helping our dealerships become employers of choice in their community.
• Increase automotive instructor and student awareness of Ford Technical Career Entry Programs.
• Increase dealership access to high school student technicians prior to them attending a Ford Technical Career Entry program.
• Asset dealerships in supporting their local high school automotive technology programs.
“This program provides educational software that provides students the advantage of having technical knowledge in the automotive world,” said Don Christoff, regional talent placement specialist with Ford Motor Company. “This program provides students with a leg up when they are ready to enter the automotive industry.”
Matthew Judy, automotive instructor at SBCT, said he is thrilled to be able to offer the program to his students.
“This will make a tremendous difference for us in being able to prepare our students,” he said. “We have always prided ourselves in being able to provide highly qualified technicians to the next level of their education. This will certainly give these students an advantage, particularly within the Ford industry.”
Among the elements of the Ford ACE program include:
• High school automotive program instructors and students granted access to Ford Service Training web courses on a dedicated Learning Management System.
• Ability to transfer training history in Ford’s Standardized Training and Resource System (STARS). However currently this is a manual process and the dealership or TCEP School must create a profile in STARS first.
• Selection of high schools for limited engine assembly donations (to be used for student training).
Friday’s announcement is part of the Baldwin County Career and Technical Education students and faculty’s effort to join a national and statewide effort to celebrate February as Career and Technical Education Month.
“This is a prime example of how our school can work together with an industry leader to provide quality education for our students,” said SBCT Principal Kendall Mowdy. “It is always our goal to provide the best opportunities for our students, whether it is to continue their education at a two- or four-year institution, or whether it is to go directly into a more specialized training area.”
This year’s theme is “Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!” Career Technical Education Month provides hands-on programs an opportunity to showcase how career technical programs prepare students for their post-high school life.
“Our business and industry partners have spoken loudly and clearly,” Tyler said. “They need a highly-qualified work force that not only knows their skills but that can critically think to solve job challenges. Our career technical education students and teachers are doing a great job, placing among the top in national and state competitions; however, they want to do more and my staff, our board and I want to help them to do more, if we possibly can.
“Career Technical Education is extremely important in Baldwin County Public Schools. Unfortunately, like many other K-12 education programs, dollars have not been there to do the improvements we want. I’m excited to say, however, that we are taking a new, fresh look at our career technical facilities and programs to explore possibilities. In addition, we are always eager to partner with our business, corporate and industrial friends to help turn out outstanding graduates.”
Additional events planned for Career Technical Education Month in Baldwin County include:
• Foley High School’s Business Department will host a job fair on Feb. 19 and a Business Etiquette Day on Feb. 28. Foley’s local businesses will also be promoting their local programs for Career Tech Month.
• Daphne Middle School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) will be a hosting a leadership workshop in February for students in grades 6, 7 and 8.
• Students from the South Baldwin Center for Technology and the North Baldwin Center for Technology will be attending and competing at the HOSA Conference held in Montgomery, Feb. 20-22. Health Occupations Students of America or HOSA, as it’s widely known, is a national career and technical student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division of The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the largest national education association in the U.S. dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers.
• Coastal Alabama Community College will be hosting a county-wide competition for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) student organizations from the local middle and high schools on Feb. 22.
• The South Baldwin Center of Technology’s television production students are working to develop drug prevention public service announcement commercials for broadcast television. The SBCT will have different tours and presentations in support of CTE Month.
• Baldwin County Beef Cookoff will be held Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. at the ALFA Building, Robertsdale. The first-place county winner from both the junior and senior divisions will advance to the state beef cookoff in Montgomery. Special thanks to the Baldwin County Cattlewoman’s Association for sponsoring this year’s county cookoff again and providing cash prizes to the winners at the county level. They have also helped to pay the expenses for Baldwin contestants at the state level.
• Robertsdale High School will host a career fair March 14 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. that will include displays from South Baldwin Center for Technology, along with colleges, local industry and recruiters from the military.
• Foley High School is also hosting a College Career Day in the high school gym Feb. 28. There will be more than 60 colleges, industries and military present for students to meet and collaborate with.
• The North Baldwin and Eastern Shore Chambers of Commerce are proud to partner once again with the North Baldwin Center for Technology (NBCT) to host the Career Horizons Expo Feb. 28. This event is geared towards 8th graders who will be attending those high schools in the NBCT feeder patterns (Bay Minette, Spanish Fort and Daphne). Students will have the opportunity to see technical programs side by side with relevant business, industry and post-secondary schools. Students will have the chance to interact with instructors, potential future employers and current students in the technical programs. They will be given the opportunity to tour the school and explore the programs that are available.
Nationwide, CTE encompasses 94 percent of high school students and 8.4 million post-secondary students who attend high schools, community/technical colleges and four-year universities. Students who enroll in career technical education programs are equipped to be college and career ready. Through the cutting-edge, rigorous and relevant career technical programs, students gain the current day and often times futuristic technical skills needed to enter career pathways which offer high-wage, high-demand career opportunities.
Onlooker co-editor John Underwood contributed to this report.