And Now, the Rest of the Story
Ford TechDrive Technician Recruitment Program
An old Radio Broadcaster and writer, Paul Harvey, became famous for his Rest of the Story series. He would tell a story, peak your interest and then cut to commercial. When back live, you'd hear him say "And now the rest of the story." So it is when it comes to Ford Motor Company ACE Program and Court Street Ford.
James Stafford, KACC Auto Tech Instructor (former Ford Service Technician) developed a relationship with Court Street Ford. When Court Street Ford brought a Field Engineer to KACC to talk about the Ford ACE and Asset programs, we were amazed.
ACE, which is the acronym for Automotive Career Exploration Program, was designed as a partnership program between Ford Motor Company, Ford and Lincoln dealerships and, secondary and post-secondary schools. The purpose is not only to raise awareness of the many career opportunities within the automotive industry, but ultimately, result in creating a well-trained crop of service technicians.
Students who attend a Ford ACE partnership school, like KACC, complete a series of web-based training via Ford's Learning Management System. These trainings are a subset of the same courses taken by current dealership technicians. By completing the courses, student are one step closer toward qualifying for a career in the automotive industry, whether that be an entry level automotive service technician, a service manager, parts manager, service advisor or shop foreman at a Ford/Lincoln Dealership.
Each time a student successfully completes one of the ACE trainings, they earn a very specific certification, which they add to their portfolio. Each certification is industry recognized and validates the knowledge base and skill sets developed in the Automotive Tech Program. We have had many former KACC students join the Court Street Ford team and other dealerships in the area.
KACC joined this partnership last year. The ceremony held to accept the donation of the car, was directly related to this partnership. KACC's Automotive Technology program was recognized for being one of the top five ACE schools in the Great Lakes Region, with Court Street Ford honoring the program with the generous vehicle donation.
As far as the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) is concerned, it boasts of being "The only program with a paid internship allowing you to earn while you learn." This is an exceptionally good concept as students alternate for six to eight weeks in the classroom and then six to eight weeks with their sponsoring Ford or Lincoln Dealer over a two-year period. Following two years in the program, they earn an "Associate's Degree and a valuable in-dealer experience." Parkland College in Champaign is close and actively participating in the Ford Asset Program. How awesome to get your degree, all while continuing to earn an income. Great way to keep from getting into a lot of college debt!
Mr. Guerin and Mr. Stafford were also grateful to Kankakee Economic Alliance President and Manteno Mayor, Tim Nugent, who was on hand to speak at the ceremony and to the Automotive Technology Students.
KACC Executive Director, Matt Kelley, said "This type of partnership speaks volumes about the importance of business and education being on the same team. Our goals are certainly aligned. Educate students to be ready and well-prepared to join tomorrow's workforce.
We're sure we are not done with the rest of the story as we look forward to continuing this partnership well into the future.