OSU Institute of Technology’s Pro-Tech program in the School of Automotive Technologies was recently named a Subaru University partner school.
Pro-Tech instructors Ryan Lasarsky and Eric Reeves are incorporating Subaru-U’s Level 1 and Level 2 web-based training courses into the Pro-Tech curriculum so when students graduate with an Associate in Applied Science in Automotive Service Technology, they will also be a Level 2 Certified Subaru Technician.
“Whether they go to work for Subaru or not, they have those credentials. They’re listed in Subaru America’s database of technicians, so if a dealership needs someone, they can look them up,” Lasarsky said.
Chris Weigel, technical training education manager for Subaru of America, said Subaru University started about two years ago in response to a growing shortage in the technician workforce. There are 166 secondary and post-secondary schools participating in the Subaru-U program so far.
Representatives from Subaru-U visited the Pro-Tech program in November and a month later named OSUIT a partner school. The web-based training is already being incorporated into students’ curriculum.
Weigel said OSUIT’s Pro-Tech program was a good fit for Subaru-U because the program is already accredited with the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF), and Subaru-U’s web-based training can be used as a complement to the already required NATEF guidelines.
“OSUIT’s Pro-Tech program provides the opportunity for young technicians to make the decision as to whether a career in the automotive industry is right for them without the pressure of deciding on a specific OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to learn about solely,” he said. “Also, with OSUIT’s regional presence, the college is in a great location to provide students within a vast area general Subaru knowledge and experience with a brand that they may not normally be familiar with.”
In January, the Pro-Tech program received a donated 2015 Subaru Forester from Subaru-U and in February, they will donate diagnostic equipment to the program as well.
“Between this web-based training and the donated vehicle and equipment, we can train our students on Bluetooth systems, back-up cameras and auxiliary systems like that,” Lasarsky said.
The Pro-Tech students are just as excited.
“Having a new vehicle in the shop, there are all kinds of technology it has that none of the other cars in the shop have,” said student Jamie Smith. “You’re going to learn your basics on the computer or in a book, but you need that real-life application as well. I think it’s important to have both.”
Lasarsky said having the Subaru-U curriculum and vehicle means more opportunities for his students.
“I’ve been here five years, and we’ve had one student go and work for a Subaru dealership. Being a Subaru-U partner school is going to open up doors for students,” he said. “As the number of Subaru vehicles on the road increases, the number of qualified Subaru technicians will need to increase as well.”