With the operation of automobiles, service and maintenance of those cars becomes an important aspect of the local economy. Buckeye Hills Career Center trains and prepares students to do just that---repair and service cars.
In the Transportation Academy, there are three different programs that train students to work in various fields from the farm to the garage. Agricultural and Diesel Mechanics is a program that trains students for work in a wide variety of areas, particularly occupations having to do with agricultural and industrial diesel engines.
“They learn a basic set of skills rather than a concentrated set. We work on cars, we paint, we do some auto body, we do some welding, stick and mig, and do everything in between basically,” said instructor Randy Hamilton. “Most of my students that want to do this wind up in a starter or entry-level mechanics job, regardless of whether it’s auto or (agricultural) or equipment---it’s all around.”
Students are taught to work on diesel engines, as well as small engines found in equipment such as lawn mowers and weed eaters. Hamilton adds the emphasis on gas engines because many old diesel mechanics weren’t taught to, and struggle to repair a lawn mower because of the differences between gas and diesel engines.
“I like trucks, and a little bit of tractors. I want a degree in (agriculture) since I want to go to (Universal Technical Institute) in Chicago and be a diesel technician,” said Lee Gau. “My favorite part is the memories you make and the friends you make.”
Students don’t only have the chance to learn about diesel and agricultural mechanics---there are also programs designed to train students to service and maintain automobiles. Auto Service Technology teaches students to inspect, diagnose and repair the electrical, mechanical and auxiliary systems of a car. Students learn this trade by working in labs with hands-on experience diagnosing and repairing vehicles.
“I like cars---It’s been my whole life. Hopefully in the future I can use my training to help people in the community,” said Damian Preston.
“I’ve grown up around vehicles my whole life. I want to make my career in it,” said Aaron Causey.
The Auto Service Technology program is certified by the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), which also certifies mechanics and garages.
The third program in the transportation academy is Auto Collision Technology, which provides training for body repair and painting. Students are taught the skills necessary to weld, metal repair, straighten frames, paint and perform automotive refinishing.
Students receive hands-on education in this field as well as time in the classroom learning about modern techniques and habits of the trade.
“I want to learn how to do body work and all that stuff. I want to learn how to fix cars and how to paint,” said Jason Cain. “I want to get a job in auto collision after high school.”
In all three of these areas, students will graduate high school with the ability to enter the job field working with their hands. As with all programs at BHCC, these take two years to complete. Sophomore students who want to enter the program as juniors should contact the school at 740-245-5334 or visit its website at www.buckeyehills.net.