Cal McNeil is graduating from the Automotive Technology program at Meridian Technology Center this month, but this is just the first step in the Perry student’s career training.
McNeil has been accepted into Ford’s Automotive Student Services Educational Training (ASSET) program at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) in Okmulgee. The ASSET program is a paid internship program that allows students to earn while they learn.
McNeil will spend eight weeks in the classroom at OSUIT and then spend eight weeks working with a sponsoring Ford dealer. At the end of the two-year program, he will earn an associate degree in addition to valuable work experience.
Regarding the opportunity, McNeil indicated it was an ideal way for him to advance his skills while gaining an education. “I’m proud to go into an educational program that caters to what I like doing,” he said. “I feel like I will learn more and earn more through this program.”
Seth Wadley Ford in Perry is sponsoring McNeil’s participation in the program. Sponsorship includes a paid internship at the dealership for the duration of the program, assistance purchasing tools, a job at the dealership upon graduation and a scholarship in the form of a tuition waiver after McNeil begins full-time employment.
“This is a tremendous program, and we’re proud to sponsor Cal,” commented Bruce McRae, Service Manager at Seth Wadley Ford, during McNeil’s signing event. “The investment we’re making in him allows us to serve our customers better. It’s a win-win.”
Danny Coon, a Program Support Specialist for OSUIT’s School of Transportation and Heavy Equipment, echoed McRae’s comments. “Programs like Ford’s ASSET ensure students interested in a career in the automotive industry have the opportunity to learn advanced skills without going into debt.”
The Bureau of Labor Statics indicates a continued need for highly skilled automotive technicians. It is estimated there will be a need for nearly 70,000 additional technicians each year. Students in Meridian’s Automotive Technology program can focus in two areas – Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair or Automotive Service. The Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair program will inspect, maintain and repair lighting elements on automobiles and small trucks. The Automotive Maintenance training program includes mastering a full range of repair and maintenance services, but students also have the option to specialize in specific areas, such as brakes, transmissions or air conditioning systems.