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Published 5/2/2005

Owens Community College Automotive Students Gain Experience by Working on Employee Automobiles

Owens student Ryan Koegler checks under the hood of an employee automobile. Whether a vehicle dilemma lies within the fuel system, brakes or electrical, or that irritating 'Service Engine Soon' light is constantly blinking, Owens Community College employees don't have to venture very far to find service for their ailing automobile. With a quick phone call to the College's Transportation Technology Center, employees can have their motor vehicle problems remedied by highly skilled students within Owens' Automotive Technology Program.

As part of the program's mission of incorporating the latest in innovative automotive technology, Owens students are constantly presented with the task of diagnosing, correcting and repairing employee vehicles featuring an array of problems. However, solving such mechanical issues found in today's modern automobile is not uncharted territory for Owens' knowledgeable students. Servicing employee vehicles merely builds upon the foundation of educational coursework initially taught within the classroom.

"Owens Community College's Automotive Technology Program is structured as both a classroom and laboratory, affording students the opportunity to receive real- life experiences needed to achieve success within the working world," said Rick Francis, Owens Professor of Transportation Technologies. "Diagnosing and repairing problems found within employee vehicles presents students with such hands-on everyday scenarios."

According to Francis, employees facing auto trouble are able to schedule an appointment with one of the Automotive Technology instructors within the appropriate course related to the problem. "If the problem involves the brakes, the automotive brakes class will service the vehicle," he said. "When an employee vehicle is serviced depends on class instruction. For instance, if the vehicle problem relates to electrical trouble, but the class has yet to cover the topic of electrical systems, that employee must wait to set an appointment until the proper curriculum is taught."

Owens' Automotive Technology Program requires approximately 68 credit hours of coursework and is designed to teach students about an array of auto service fundamentals, as well as specifics related to the vehicle, such as automotive brakes, vehicle electricity and electronics, engine fundamentals, standard transmission and drive trains, automatic transmission, wheel alignment and suspension, air conditioning, automotive Powertrain, and vehicle accessory systems.

Upon completion of the associate degree program, Owens students are prepared for a variety of careers as technicians within the automotive industry, including operation, maintenance, service, testing, diagnostics and development.

"Whether students enter the program experienced or inexperienced, they all leave with the knowledge and expertise to excel in today's fast-changing automotive industry," said Francis "This program allows students to learn beyond the book, enabling them to perform at a high level of competency."

For Owens first-year student Ryan Koegler of Sylvania, the Automotive Technology Program is instrumental in helping him reach his goal of someday starting his own auto body shop.

"This program gives students the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about vehicles through a unique hands-on approach," said Koegler, a Sylvania Northview High School graduate. "The instructors are wonderful. They not only teach the proper technique of working on the automobile, they also stress the importance of achieving perfection."

Such perfection of service is something that keeps employees coming back for more. In addition to the positive verbal feedback, some employees have gone as far as sending thank you cards, or buying doughnuts or pizza for the class who serviced their automobile.

Citing convenience and dependability, Owens' Secretary of Public Relations and Marketing, Karen Koke, has had her vehicle serviced multiple times by students within the Automotive Technology Program.

"The program has great students who have a firm grasp on what they are doing," said Koke. "All that I have to do is call ahead, drop off my vehicle and within a reasonable time period, it's ready and waiting good as new. I could not ask for better service."

Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, and Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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