Automotive Technology vs Automotive Engineering
Today I visited the Clemson Icar automotive research and engineering center in Greenville SC. I have to say I was extremely impressed by the college and the campus. They have a massive amount of manufacturer backing. The projects they are working on, the tooling and equipment they have and the opportunities the students are given are nothing short of amazing. I was told the placement rate was 95% after graduation. 50% of their students are international and a large portion of their students have never driven a car. The Deep Orange program consistently places all of its students with what ever manufacturer they are working with that year each year.
I stopped in for a tour to inquire about taking some classes that peaked my interests. After the tour I asked about price for their certificate, masters and PHD program. I was surprised to learn it wasn't really that expensive, not anymore so than some of the automotive colleges out there. So my question is this, why do we think we can attract top talent into our field without changing our ways when that is what we are competing against? Manufacturers are complaining that they can't find technicians to fill their dealerships but they aren't dumping money into the college programs like they are into the engineering programs. They aren't involved in the campuses like they are at this school. BMW, JTEKT and others have offices and engineering centers on campus for so they can work directly with students. Their Deep Orange program builds a vehicle each year from the ground up. This year they built a 600hp honda hybrid rally car. Last year was a Hybrid Mini Cooper and a few years ago was an awesome Toyota concept car.
I'll be blunt, if we think we can attract engineer level students to an automotive technology program when we are competing with programs like that we have no chance. We need to change, the industry needs to pay more and the manufacturers need to get involved or the problem is not going to change. We can't expect high schools to send us their top students when we are competing with a school and career like that.
A lot is going to have to change, and fast. We are no where near prepared for it. It will get worse before it gets better
It does not matter if a student is from a Community College or a University, it is what they can do after they graduate. The school bears a significant amount of burden however it is the initiative the student takes that will make the greatest impact.
I am in agreement, up to a point. Yes, there is a dire need, and has been for decades, for changes in the WHOLE industry (that includes manufacturers, suppliers, educators and independent repair facilities). IMHO, the "weakest link in the chain" has always been a lack of participation by the indies. The generally apathetic attitude has prevailed and we are seeing the results (few able to perform the necessary diagnoses and repairs efficiently). If indies would join hands and work with the educators, demand high quality parts, and offer assistance to those building the problematic vehicles then.....
Oh, wait. I just woke up. I must have been dreaming.
So I’m sitting here at local resturant reading this thread. I just overheard two guys talking at the bar.
Guy#1- I can‘t drive my car very far because it overheats when I do....
Guy#2- you can take the radiator out and have it “boiled out” that should fix it.
Guy1 - I took it to shop X but they wanted to charge too much.
Guy2 - i know, had my car work on at Shop Y, they charged me a fortune. These shops are just rip off‘s!
Jamie, I agree if only we can educate the motoring public just what it takes to repair thier cars, things would be better.......oh wait, I must be dreaming!