A model of school/industry collaboration, the AYES business and education partnership has been recognized by the US Department of Education for its part in raising the rigor of Career & Technical Education. The AYES program combines the resources of automotive manufacturers, automotive dealership associations, state and local departments of education and employers in the local community to create a school-to-career process, based on the European apprenticeship model.
For the last few years, Stephen Mercaldo, GYNADA’s education and training consultant and the New York State AYES manager, worked with school staff to bring the automotive technology program in line with industry standards. Edison earned National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) certification in 2011 and AYES certification this month. The goal of the AYES initiative is to develop career-ready, entry-level automotive technicians and service personnel. Students enrolled in an AYES certified high school automotive technology program are presented opportunities and guidance to explore automotive careers, and they are given the tools and support they need to learn, develop and practice the technical, academic and employability skills needed for success.
The capstone of the AYES model is a 320-hour workplace internship, usually during the summer between the junior and senior year, where working beside a trained and qualified mentor (ASE certified automotive technician) the student prepares for entry-level career positions or advanced studies in automotive technology.
AYES certified schools have access to an industry endorsed curriculum, manufacturer technical information, manufacturer specific technical training, interactive website, publications, assistance with AYES program delivery, donations, scholarships and mentor/student training. Edison automotive technology instructors are certified by Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of auto repair and service by testing and certifying automotive technicians.
Thomas Edison has an enrollment of over 2,800 students. Students take required academic courses in their freshman year and at the end of the year choose one of ten career and technical tracks to pursue in grades 10 to 12. Over two hundred students are enrolled in the automotive technology program.