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Automotive programs grow after economy closes dealerships

With the state of the economy, multiple car dealerships are being forced to close their doors for good. But as the saying goes, “when one door closes, another one opens.”

With the closing of dealerships, many people are keeping their vehicles longer, which means they will have to work harder to maintain older cars.

James Stautzenberger, a Jacksonville resident, has had his vehicle for a little over 12 years and is very familiar with the upkeep and maintenance it takes to make a vehicle last.

“It has been a good decision for me to keep my vehicle longer than most, because I have not had a car payment in years and the maintenance for my car is very inexpensive,” Stautzenberger said. “In economic tough times, it just makes sense for some people.”

Justin Tutt, a mechanic for over six years, believes that the service industry is a great field to get into and the automotive technicians will have a secure job in the future.

“Although it may be slow right now, I think it will pay off in the future. Drivers will have to fix their cars sooner or later,” Tutt said.

According to Tutt, students right out of the program should try to find a job at an independent shop instead of a dealership. Techs will be more secure in an independent shop, especially with the unpredictably of dealerships closing.

The Automotive Technology Program at Tyler Junior College has been experiencing a rapid growth in the amount of students who are enrolling into this program since the downfall of the economy.

The program offers training such as automotive diagnosis, repair and service. It provides the students with all the necessities and skills in order to become a skilled technician in the automotive industry.

“There is a heavy need as the service industry is picking up. People are holding on to their vehicles now,” said Jeff Parks, Associate Dean of Industry and Technologies.

According to Parks, there is also a co-op education program that also helps the students learn work ethics and how to keep their jobs, such as showing up on time, for example.

“The Automotive Department continues to have great candidates and they are all highly qualified,” Parks said.

According to Parks, as of July 21 only one slot is left open out of 40.

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