Advance Auto launches new partnership with Bedford Schools

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BEDFORD CO. (WSLS 10) - A new partnership helps students leave the classroom work-force ready. Bedford County Public Schools and Advance Auto parts are teaming up to give students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology.

This partnership has recently been recognized with the Region V Virginia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Creating Excellence Business and Industry Partnership Award.

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"I am thrilled to see that a company like Advance Auto Parts understands the importance of developing and training competent automotive experts. Advance has benefited the program from start to finish with input regarding emerging technologies through our advisory committee. Significantly, they have also hired some of our graduates," says automotive technology instructor Mark Mathia.

Students in the program have a significant record of accomplishments, including earning Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) student certifications and state inspection licenses.

"From start to finish, Advance has input into our advisory committee which gives us input from business leaders to let us know where the industry is moving and where we need to concentrate our instruction," Mathia said. "They actually have real-world experience before they really apply for a job."

The partnership is continuing to provide valuable educational resources to the students enrolled in Bedford Science and Technology Center's Automotive Technology program. The partnership provides continuing education opportunities for students and staff at the center, as well as continuing education opportunities for local technicians. The partnership has also allowed the development of a pilot internship program for students which provides valuable exposure to corporate

They actually have real-world experience before they really apply for a job," Mathia said.

Junior student Dakota Payne, ranked second in the state for his skills learned in Bedford's automotive shop was hand chosen for the program.

"I learn a lot in this class but I think I'll learn even more out there because it's more of a real world thing," Payne said.

He will spend three-days a week next year at the corporate office learning about the business.

A win-win for Bedford and Advance Auto who has hired many graduates from the program.

"as they have graduated out of here then come in to our environment, the knowledge that they bring is just priceless," said Shannon Martin, Senior Manager of Operations Support.


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