The ASE Education Foundation’s new Adopt-A-School program is a valuable resource to help students transition to the workforce. By implementing work-based learning programs, businesses can help reinforce classroom instruction and increase students’ hands-on skills, making graduates more productive at the start of their careers.
“Many businesses hire students while they are still in school. Done correctly, work-based learning can be a real asset for development and retention of employees,” said Mike Coley, president, ASE Education Foundation. “Our Adopt-a-School toolkit is filled with excellent information on how businesses can implement a successful work-based learning program. When a business supports a local school, they can help identify and train long-term employees.”
Work-based learning refers to a particular type of part-time job where students are paired with experienced technicians who serve as their workplace mentors, and the job tasks they undertake correspond to and reinforce the learning taking place in school. Furthermore, constructive work-based learning includes ongoing discussions between the employer, the student, their mentor and their instructor on what is going well and what needs improvement, so that any remediation can take place as quickly as possible.
ASE’s research shows that students who participate in work-based learning programs are more likely to join the transportation service industry and remain there long-term. While schools strive to provide well-trained entry-level technicians, they need help and input to be successful and meet the employment needs of the industry. Schools are looking for partners from the industry to provide advice and guidance, demonstrate career opportunities for their students, and help those students get the hands-on experience that will grow their skills and encourage them to stay on an automotive career path.
The goal of the foundation’s Adopt-A-School program is to create partnerships between employers and schools in their respective communities and help train and prepare the next generation of automotive service professionals to enter the workforce. Businesses and industry organizations have the opportunity to mentor and hire future employees via the program.
“Hiring students while they are still in school is a great way to foster a loyalty between the student worker and a business,” said Coley. “Businesses get the opportunity to better understand students’ abilities and help develop critical workplace skills. When implemented correctly, this program can help create a steady pipeline of talent for the business.”