New to Elgin High School the 2016-17 school year is a nationally accredited automotive program.
The U46 high school earned national automotive industry-recognized credentials earlier this summer through a non-profit organization that aims to help improve and promote quality automotive technician training programs in secondary schools across the nation.
"School District U46 continues to work hard to embrace new and innovative programs for our students," said Dr. Terri Lozier, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools Instruction and Equity in a news release. “Earning this recognition demonstrates that U46 Career and Technical Education programs follow industry-standard rigorous curricula and allows students to receive these credentials while still in high school.”
Training and accreditation through the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation will assist students who possess interest in careers within the automotive industry, officials said in a release.
Elgin High School is one of 27 schools that received accreditation after demonstrating the ability to offer a minimum of 540 hours in maintenance and light repair over the course of the two to three-year program, officials said.
“The accreditation reaffirms that Elgin High School is providing the best possible education in our Career and Technical Education department,” said Jerry Cook, Elgin High School Principal. “This will help inform employers and post-secondary institutions that our students are qualified for employment and education in the automotive field.”
U46 Automotive Technology programs at Bartlett and South Elgin High School will be seeking accreditation this fall, officials said.
The accreditation process included three parts: a program self-evaluation by instructors and administrators, an application review and an on-site evaluation. Ultimately, the program at Elgin High School earned national industry recognition.
“NATEF accreditation is all about program improvement. The rigorous accreditation process allows instructors and school administration to review their entire program from curriculum, to facility, to support and more,” said Trish Serratore, NATEF President. “The end result is a program that is all about student success and ultimately job placement. Students coming out of a NATEF accredited program will have met the industry-required standards and skill sets. It is a win for students, instructors and our industry.”
In U46 schools, underclassmen enrolled in the automotive program begin by learning the fundamentals of engine operation, electrical functions and vehicle maintenance, officials said.
Upperclassmen will advance toward coursework combining lab work and related instruction in NATEF areas that focus on electronics, brakes, steering, construction and performance.
A variety of testing devices, equipment and diagnostic techniques prepare students for Automotive Service Excellence testing.
“As a district, we embrace the concept of program improvement through evaluation,” said Kinasha Brown, U46 Career and Technical Education Coordinator. “This allows us to offer the Automotive Technology program for students that culminates in career readiness. Earning NATEF accreditation indicates we are moving in the right direction.”