Alex Hyman, Nye Automotive Group service technician, recalls taking a Madison-Oneida BOCES automotive technology course a few years ago at the Oneida dealership really gave him an inside view of the industry.
“It gave me a great idea of where I might see myself in the future,” said the graduating class of 2019 from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School. “It was a huge opportunity and it showed me the good with the bad. Even before I graduated from high school I decided I could see myself doing this as a career.”
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Hyman interned for Master Technician Brian Light at Toyota’s Nye Service Center. He gave Light credit for being “totally unfiltered” when it came to showing him the daily grind. Once he decided the job was something he wanted to pursue, Hyman informed Light of his decision and asked if Light thought he would be an asset to the company.
Today, Hyman also graduated from Toyota’s T-TEN Automotive Training Apprenticeship Program at Monroe Community College in Rochester and is back at Toyota service areas in Nye.
“I learn something new every day,” Hyman said. “I love taking things apart to see what’s missing.”
Light said the automotive technology course gives BOCES and Nye the chance to train the technicians of the future, while also giving students the chance to find out for themselves if they want to stick with their jobs.
“It gives them a real-life experience and prepares them for their future,” Light explained. “We take care of the unknowns for them. I am delighted to be a part of this and to be able to impart what I know to the students. “
Madison-Oneida BOCES Public Relations Coordinator Sapna Kollali said their automotive technology course is integrated into Nye Automotive from the 2018-2019 school year. Auto Tech is a two-year program, she explained, with juniors completing their traditional classroom program on the Verona campus and seniors in Nye.
There were 59 students in total who went to Nye Automotive, including the current class, Kollali said. In its four years, the program has grown from 10 students to 18 currently and they plan to up to 26 next year, she added.
“It’s still a popular course, but the integrated aspect has helped attract more students,” Kollali said.
Nye Automotive has so far provided jobs for 10 of the students who have completed the program and has also sponsored several students to complete college programs and dealership certification programs, she said. In Nye, students alternate between GMC, Toyota, Ford and Chrysler dealerships. All students work at all sites, typically for six-week blocks at a time.
Madison-Oneida BOCES has also been offering integrated programs for government, law and public administration from New Visions at Madison County offices in Wampsville since September 2019; Auto collision repair at Carstar Davidson Collision in Rome since September 2021; and Allied Health Partnership through Oneida Healthcare for over 20 years.
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Madison-Oneida BOCES Automotive Instructor Phil Maitland teaches the course at Nye Automotive. He said it was created in response to a serious need for service technicians in the industry, and dealer Nye immediately went along with the idea.
“There really is no better way to prepare the workforce of tomorrow,” said Maitland. “We bring them here from a young age to show them what it looks like in a real environment. For me, it’s about giving kids the chance to focus on what they really want to do. “
Elizabeth Griffiths is a student at Oneida High School who is currently taking the course. She said it gives her the opportunity to go beyond just working on her own vehicle to see what it would be like to actually work in auto mechanics for a living.
Guided by Nye’s experienced techies, Griffiths said she liked what she had seen so far.
“I really like being able to work on their customers’ vehicles to see where the issues are,” Griffiths said. “I think this will definitely lead to future job openings for me. I would really love to do this as a career.”
Mike Jaquays is the community news reporter for Mid-York Weekly. Email him at [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Madison-Oneida BOCES and Nye Automotive team up for the Auto Tech course