Tipton Ford visits NHS auto tech program

Tipton Ford visits NHS auto tech program
Posted on 12/17/2019
Tipton Ford visits NHS auto tech program

The message could’ve come straight from a guidance counselor.

“Think about your future now,” Ronnie Coats told the students in Nacogdoches High School’s auto tech classes.

“The choices you make and opportunities you don’t take advantage of, that’s what defines your future,” added Coats, who’s fixed operations director at Tipton Ford, the Nacogdoches car dealership that is working closely with the NHS auto tech program.

The Ford Event, held Dec. 6 in the automotive garage at NHS, allowed students to get a closer look at careers in the auto industry, particularly roles in auto repair, such as technicians, service directors and similar careers. It also gave them an opportunity to hear from professionals in the industry – include Coats and Tipton Service manager Jeremy Terrell as well as Ford Motor Co. official Gabe Zambrano.

The NHS students – ranging in experience level from first-year auto tech students to those in advanced classes – also got to see a familiar face: 2019 NHS graduate Rafael Rivera. A year ago, Rivera earned an internship at Tipton, working in paint shop; today, Rivera has a fulltime job at the dealership.

The message from Rivera and the others? What you do now matters greatly.

“This training (at NHS) is going to make you more marketable,” said Gabe Zambrano, a Ford Motor Co. official who was also on hand.

Aaron Cabaniss, the NHS auto tech instructor, encouraged his students to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the Ford officials and that it’s never too early to think of their careers.

He also related the meeting with Ford officials to an even greater cause: a benefit to the community. “This is an economic development project,” Cabaniss told his students, reminding them the auto industry – locally and nationwide – has an ongoing need for young talent, something echoed by the Ford officials on hand.

“The auto industry will continue to grow and need technicians,” Terrell told the students. “The need is there, and things are becoming more and more complex.”

That complexity requires an even stronger education background, Terrell added, emphasizing the significance of students doing well in high school.

Coats also drove home the value of coming to these kinds of jobs with the right frame of mind – while also praising Rivera, the recent grad. “What we really need are people like Rafael,” he said. “He came in with the right attitude and the right skills.”

Cabaniss commends relationships like the one between NHS and Tipton – as well as a similar association with O’Reilly Auto Parts – where students get experience in and exposure to real world situations.

“We need more like these,” Cabaniss said. “These benefit NHS and our students, but they also provide an opportunity for Nacogdoches business to get in on the bottom floor of training future leaders.”

Don Hasley, NISD’s Director of Career & Technical Education, says the affiliation between Tipton Ford and the NHS auto tech program can serve as a blueprint for others.

“This is a perfect example of what we envision for our career and technical education program,” he said. “Collaborative efforts like this one benefit our students and the community. It’s the perfect model for what we want to achieve.”

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