Encouraging students to be future vehicle technicians is the goal of a new program by the Western New York Ford Dealers. WBFO's Focus on Education Reporter Eileen Buckley says the dealers donated four cars to area auto tech schools as part of the Ford Future Techs Initiative.
The local car dealers said there is a critical need for more auto technicians to service the vehicles we drive.
"We decided to pool our funds to donate Ford vehicles, produced over the last three years, to local schools with automotive technical repair programs," said Peter DeLacy of the Ford Auto Dealers.
DeLacy said many of the baby-boomer auto technicians are nearing retirement and it's time to train a new generation ho can tackle the high-tech supported systems.
The dealers group appeared at Burgard Vocational High School on Kensington Avenue to present one of four vehicles to the auto tech program. Jay Galligan is an Ford repair technician who said he's been forced to hire outside of Western New York to meet the demand for the new technology.
"It's created a need for a technician who is more tech savvy. One that is part electrician, part PC repairman and still diagnose or repair an oil leak or engine knock," said Galligan.
Burgard Principal Charlene Watson was thrilled that the school's auto program was selected. "To be the recipient of the Future Ford Techs Program is awesome," said Watson.
Watson said the auto program is the most popular at her school.
"It will not only allow our students the opportunity to learn how to work with the latest technology and service the vehicles, it will also help our teachers work closely with them to prepare them for future employment with Western New York Ford Dealers," said Watson.
60-Burgard students in 10th grade apply for the program. Watson noted that's twice as many as the school's other tech programs.
Burgard 10th grader Iilias Burruss started in the program last year and says he wants a career as an auto technician. "It's a fun program. How we get to work on cars. I like fixing them," said Burruss.
Three other vehicles were also donated to the Erie 1 and 2 Boces Potter, Harkness and Ormsby Centers for the auto tech programs.