School supplies: Perryville auto service class needs donated cars, engines | News
PERRYVILLE, MO (KFVS) - When you think of school supplies, you might not think of cars and engines, but that’s exactly what a group of students at Perryville Area Career and Technology Center needs right now.
Thomas Canter, automotive services technology instructor at PACTC, is asking community members to donate vehicles or engines for his students to use as learning tools.
“Our program is in need of a couple of 1996 or newer vehicles, as well as 3 or 4 engines from 1996 or later, for hands-on instruction,” he said. “The cars can be wrecked, but we’d like the engines in the cars to be running, even if they need some repairs. We can use 4, 6 or 8-cylinder engines.
“We don’t really care what shape the engines are in; we’re going to put them up on engine stands and tear them apart to diagnose the problem and then fix them.”
Anyone with vehicles or engines they are willing to donate to the program can contact Canter at 573-547-7500, Dial 8+259 or email@example.com.
Canter, who has 19 students this year and already has 23 enrolled for next year, is using a new textbook for classroom lessons, but said that his students get their real education in the shop.
“There’s a saying that goes ‘Tell me, and I'll listen. Show me, and I'll understand. Involve me, and I'll learn.’ That philosophy truly applies in our class,” Canter said. “The more hands-on experience I can offer our students, the more they learn and the better professionals they will become.”
Canter is an alumnus of the auto services technology program himself. “I graduated from Perryville High School in 1996 and completed this program with Calvin Ehlers. It was a great start to my career. In fact, I can’t think of any local shops that don’t have someone from this program working there.”
Canter is a graduate of the Wyoming Technical Institute and a Certified ASE Master Automotive Technician. He worked at St. Louis-area dealerships before becoming an instructor.
“It’s been great coming back to the career center,” he said. “We have state-of-the-art equipment but we don’t have any vehicles or engines of our own to work on. We do get customer cars in for repairs or service, which is great experience. But the students really need to be able to learn from their mistakes and we can’t make mistakes on customer’s cars. There are also time constraints when working on people’s vehicles, because we want to get them fixed and out of the shop as quickly as possible.”
Students at PACTC have the opportunity to test in different skill areas to achieve ASE certification through the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence.
Canter is working toward National Automotive Technician’s Education Foundation (NATEF) accreditation for the program.
“The automotive service and repair industry has gone through tremendous changes in the last decade,” he said. “Working on today’s cars requires a deeper understanding of the technology that goes into the modern, more sophisticated automobile. This increased sophistication means schools need to stay current to properly educate students to meet industry standards. That is why accreditation for automotive programs is so important.
“When we graduate a student from our program with NATEF certification, it gives them one more feather in their cap and increases their ability to secure a solid career in our industry.”
NATEF provides an advanced curriculum that covers everything from automatic and manual transmissions to electrical systems and routine maintenance.
“We offer all career center students career placement assistance, which means we help them find jobs in their chosen field after they complete a program,” Canter said. “The auto service technology has nearly 100 percent placement. We’re training technicians in a needed skill, and one that can’t be outsourced. We might be buying cars from other countries, but we’ll always be fixing them right here.”
For more information about the auto service technology program or Perryville Area Career and Technology Center and its other programs, visit www.perryville.k12.mo.us/Domain/11.
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