Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa career center will provide technicians for car dealers

NORTH TAMPA — It wasn't easy. As Anthony Colucci tells it, the process involved hundreds of pages of paperwork.

But it's official: The Bowers/Whitley Career Center in Tampa is an AYES school, and Colucci, the school's principal, couldn't be happier.

The designation from the industry-supported Automotive Youth Educational Systems means some graduates of Bowers/Whitley will be qualified to find jobs at local car dealerships.

It's a step above conventional high school automobile mechanic programs, said Randy Houck, Florida's AYES coordinator. In fact, Houck said Bowers/Whitley will be the only AYES school in the Tampa Bay area. "The closest one to you is in Sarasota," he said.

It's also a milestone for the North Tampa school, which specializes in educating students who are at risk of dropping out. Those who complete the program and graduate will qualify for entry-level jobs that pay $12 to $15 an hour, Houck said.

AYES was initiated in the mid 1990s as a way for car dealers to have access to qualified young technicians. "When I was a kid, we messed with our own cars," said Houck, 56. "Kids today don't do that."

What's more, cars have become more complex, needing far more than the occasional oil change or brake job. "The average car has 20 computer systems in it," Houck said. "When you have a problem, it's usually not a mechanical problem, but an electrical one."

Looking for a partnership with a local school, Houck hit it off with Colucci. "He has an enthusiasm that permeates everything in that school," Houck said. "Kids there understand what they have to do and why. They can see light at the end of the tunnel."

Now the two are working to strengthen relationships with local dealers who can provide internships and jobs.

While much of the instruction is comparable to standard high school programs, Houck said the AYES program is more sophisticated. "It's not necessarily what we teach, but how we teach it," he said.

For students with good enough grades and conduct, there are summer internships at dealerships between the junior and senior year that pair the kids up with mentors.

"Not all kids get into the internship," Houck said. "Some wash out. But the ones that do, you see a tremendous change in those kids when they come back in their senior year."

.Fast facts

Bowers-Whitley Career Center

Location: 13609 N 22nd St., Tampa

Students it serves: Wharton, Gaither, Freedom, Sickles and Chamberlain high schools and students residing north of Busch Boulevard/Gunn Highway between U.S. 301 and the Pinellas County line. Those living outside that area can apply but have to provide their own transportation.

Programs: Administrative assistant, automotive technology, building maintenance, culinary arts, customer service, digital publishing, early childhood education, hospitality, interior design services, marketing, nursing assistant

For more information: (813) 558-1750 or visit bowers-

whitley.mysdhc.org.

Tampa career center will provide technicians for car dealers 09/10/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 10, 2011 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hulk Hogan talks Tampa Bay, depression and politics on Fox News' 'Objectified'

    Blogs

    For better or worse, Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea is our guy.

    Hulk Hogan shows Harvey Levin his wrestling boots on Fox News' "Objectified."
  2. Parts of I-75 in Pasco remain closed as crews clean up pumpkin spill from semi crash

    Accidents

    Drivers on Interstate 75 in Pasco County should expect continued delays on Friday as road crews work to clean up a mess of debris — and pumpkins — left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash in the early morning hours.

    Road crews clean up a mess of crash debris - and pumpkins - left behind after a fiery semitrailer truck crash on Interstate 75 in Pasco County on Sept. 22, 2017. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Key matchups in Bucs-Vikings game

    Blogs

    In our latest Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman breaks down five key matchups that will help decide Sunday's Bucs game against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Defensive lineman Chris Baker is a question mark heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Will Bucs go 2-0? Are Gators on upset alert?

    Blogs

    It's football friday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' game in Minnesota, including the improved offensive line.

    Ali Marpet moved from guard to center on an improved Bucs offensive line.
  5. In this Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, photo distributed on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to the United Nations, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called Trump "deranged" and said he will "pay dearly" for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. [Associated Press]