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That instruction seems straightforward, but what if the engine isn’t in a vehicle? And what if the recipients of the instruction are Automotive Technology students in Brad Warren’s class at Lewisville ISD’s Career Center East? That makes the instruction a bit more daunting.

That’s the scenario students were faced with this year, as the Auto Tech program seeks NATEF Certification, a designation that will increase the value of students’ coursework and make them more employable upon completion. With recent studies indicating a looming mechanic shortage, the creation of a NATEF certified program in LISD benefits students as well as local auto shops who will gain access to a pool of highly-qualified automotive technicians.

One of the certification components the Auto Tech program was lacking was the ability to work with an engine on an engine stand. Warren sought LEF funding to purchase the engine and stand, and in August, LEF awarded the funds. Warren worked with CCE Principal Jeff Wagley to stretch his dollars by pooling them with campus money, allowing the purchase of a mid-2000s truck engine and stand.

“I was pleased to be able to partner with LEF to get our Auto Tech program the tools needed to gain NATEF Certification,” Wagley said. “It’s not just about one new tool or one certification, this is something that allows our students to really live their learning. When they can put their hands on the engine and troubleshoot the things they learned in the manual, learning becomes real.”

Real learning makes a difference. “Most of us didn’t know how to change the oil in a car when we signed up for this class,” Hebron High School Junior Kevin Sorie said. “Now we can identify almost any engine problem you throw at us.”

Students truly began at the beginning. “I brought the motor to the shop in a crate,” Warren said. “I told the students to make it run. Of course, there was instruction and guidance every step of the way. They needed a power source. They needed a cooling system. They figured things out and made it run. Now I can put faults in it and they can identify them and correct them. The students have come a long way.”

The majority of Warren’s students intend to pursue careers in the automotive industry. “This class really helped me explore my options,” Marcus High School Senior Colton Stokfo said. “Thanks to what I learned in here, I have an idea of what I want to specialize in down the road. More importantly, I have a job after graduation.”

Real learning provides real results.

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