HOUSTON – Feb. 15, 2019 – Some students at Dekaney High School have traded in pencils and paper for wrenches and engine blocks during one of their classes. Senior Elizabeth Flores and two of her classmates were analyzing brake drums, diagnosing electrical systems and disassembling car motors with ease during a recent class in Dekaney’s automobile technology program.
“We take engines apart to see if they are running good or if they have any issues,” said Flores.
Flores and about 150 of her classmates in the auto tech program are bussed from the Dekaney campus to nearby Universal Technical Institute. UTI is a leading provider of post-secondary education for automotive, diesel, collision-repair, motorcycle and marine mechanics for the transportation industry. This is the second year that UTI has partnered with Spring ISD, offering workspaces and equipment to Dekaney’s program, prompting the Spring ISD Board of Trustees to officially recognize UTI’s contribution to Spring students.
Jorge Esparza, an admissions representative with UTI said that the school was happy to partner with the district to give more students a chance to see the opportunities that they have in the auto technology career pathway.
“The kids have really enjoyed not only the support that they get from the district to come and visit our campus, but they see their potential,” said Esparza.
Flores’ group is getting hands-on experience with various automotive technologies, including electronics and computer systems. They are also learning to work as a team while their teacher David Almanzan guides them through a diagnosis of assorted engine and electrical problems. Almanzan says that his students get the opportunity to earn entry-level certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, as well as technical training from companies that produce specific automotive components.
“This is a very crucial part of the educational program for them because not only do they get hands-on experience, but they get to see what life has for them after graduation,” said Almanzan.
For Flores, it’s a great opportunity to explore what has historically been a non-traditional career pathway for female students.
“If a female wants to become a mechanic, it’s good to know because it helps us depend on ourselves,” said Flores, adding, “A huge thank you to UTI for granting us a big opportunity like this.”