Ford donates car for Scott County automotive students

Holly Viers • Jan 22, 2020 at 7:00 PM

GATE CITY – Automotive students at the Scott County Career and Technical Center are getting hands-on, real-world experience without leaving the classroom.

On Wednesday afternoon, representatives from Ford Motor Company donated a 2014 Ford Focus to the school, to be used as a training tool for students hoping to become automotive technicians.

Along with working on the car, students have the opportunity to enroll in Ford learning modules, which gives students early access to the same training a Ford technician would receive at a dealership.

“One of the main things we try to do is get into high schools, career technical centers, and start recruiting young talent,” said Ryan Hays, field service engineer with Ford Motor Company. “Right now, there’s a big shortage in the automotive industry. There were countless years prior to this one that school counselors were telling everybody they had to go to a four-year school, and that hurt a lot of industries, including automotive. So it’s a great time to get into the industry; it’s a great time to study up. Ford dealerships are willing to pay good money for good technicians.”

Building a connection

Scott County schools already have an established relationship with Fairway Ford of Kingsport, which donates a car each year to Gate City High School as part of a drawing for students with perfect attendance.

That existing partnership helped the career and technical center secure this car from Ford Motor Company. The car will go hand-in-hand with the online Ford training modules, which were first offered at the school last fall.

Susan Wolfe, school counselor, said seven students have already taken advantage of the modules, and Fairway Ford has already hired six students from Scott County.

“We have learned that a four-year degree is great for some kids, but in the educational system, we realize that we need kids with trade skills to go into the workforce,” Wolfe said. “These kids are going straight over there to work.”

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