Auto Service programs at Kokomo, Logansport career centers certified as State Earn and Learns

SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. — The Automotive Service Technology programs at both the Kokomo Area Career Center and Century Career Center in Logansport have been officially recognized as certified State Earn and Learns (SEALs).

Certified SEAL programs are significant because they give students the opportunity to graduate with industry credentials, college credits, and valuable work experience from local employers. Both career centers received their certifications on Oct. 19 from the Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship (OWBLA).

“Public-private partnerships are at the core of successful State Earn and Learns,” said Matt DeGolyer, a regional director of OWBLA. “This particular SEAL exemplifies what is possible when different entities with a common goal work together to create a talent pipeline through K-12 and post-secondary education that benefits students and employers. Each partner is integral to the overall success of the SEAL and ultimately each entity helps lay the groundwork for individuals to have a clear path to in-demand positions in the automotive industry.”

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is helping to skill-up the state’s workforce by developing and facilitating comprehensive work-based learning programs with education and industry partners, offering SEALs to employers and education partners through its OWBLA.

About 12 students at the two career centers are expected to participate in the auto service technology SEALs during the first year of the programs. While still in high school, they can earn up to 25 dual credits from Ivy Tech Community College, in addition to an Ivy Tech Automotive Technology-Maintenance and Light Repair Certificate.

Students also can earn five industry-recognized certifications and more than 1,400 hours of work-based learning and related instruction specific to the automotive industry. Upon completion of the SEAL, students will have the opportunity to interview and transition into Chariot Automotive Group’s technician apprenticeship program.

“We are extremely grateful that we have the opportunity to be part of this exciting program and believe it greatly enhances the value of our community,” said Rex Gingerich, CEO of Chariot Automotive Group, which includes the McGonigal Buick GMC Cadillac and Button Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealerships in Kokomo, Academy Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Tipton, and Twin City Chrysler Dodge Jeep in Lafayette. 

Chariot’s apprenticeship program allows students to continue their automotive career while working at local car dealerships and pursuing an Automotive Technology associate degree at Ivy Tech, according to Josh Speer, dean of the School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Applied Sciences at Ivy Tech Kokomo. 

“This new collaboration will create a wonderful learning opportunity for our students to gain valuable work experience while they also pursue a post-secondary pathway,” said Jonathan Schuck, director of the Kokomo Area Career Center. “We’re hopeful this leads to continued full-time employment for our students at the dealerships.” 

James Little, director of Century Career Center, said, “The collaborative partnership between our school, post-secondary education, and local business and industry provides our career and technical education students with outstanding training, support, and direction for their transition into higher education, advanced training, and future employment opportunities in our workforce region upon graduation.” 

SEALs are structured, scalable programs ranging from just eight weeks to two years in length and include industry certifications tailored for any sector. They are designed to meet the skills that employers demand, are geared toward both adult and youth populations, and satisfy Indiana’s new graduation pathway requirements.

DWD projects Indiana employers will need to fill 1 million plus jobs in the next 10 years, half of which will not require a four-year college degree but some type of certification or credential beyond a high school diploma. 

OWBLA is part of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s NextLevel Jobs Agenda. 

For more information about the SEAL program, email the DWD Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship at wbl@dwd.in.gov