Auto Opportunities Abound in the AASD

Auto Opportunities Abound in the AASD
Posted on 02/11/2020
It’s the start of the school day in the auto bay at Appleton East High School and students are already hunched over a snowblower, muttering about the carburetor. 

A few other students are peering up with flashlights at the chassis of an SUV suspended on a lift. 

Another student is watching a YouTube tutorial video while using a socket wrench to remove the inside door panel of a sedan. 

Their instructor, Pete Worley, is walking around offering tips and assistance. He helps one student remove a tire and talks them through their next steps. 

This class, Auto Mechanics, provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to troubleshoot and service brake systems found on automobiles and covers the principles of operation, construction, diagnosis and repair of the automobiles' basic accessories, batteries, starting system, and charging system. 

All of these high school students are learning with professional tools on actual vehicles with real problems. 


Auto Mechanics is also a dual credit class with Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) and provides the students with nine post-secondary credits. This allows our students to earn high school credit and technical college credit at the same time. 

Auto Mechanics is one of two dual credit options within the Transportation, Distribution & Logistics Career Cluster at Appleton East. Dual credit classes give students affordable access to rigorous college courses and helps them get a jumpstart on their college degree. Around 95% of our Auto Mechanics students go directly onto Fox Valley Technical College for further schooling after graduation. 

AASD students can also learn more about careers in transportation through Youth Apprenticeship (YA) opportunities. YA integrates school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills defined by Wisconsin industries. 

Students are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes to meet high school graduation requirements, in a youth apprenticeship related instruction class, and are employed by a participating employer under the supervision of a skilled mentor.

Worley sees the value of these real-world learning opportunities, “I feel that this program is so important for our school district and community. As I work with area businesses, I see the dire need for qualified technicians. This program feeds the needs of these businesses and gives the students a direct path to tech and to their future careers.” 

The AASD works with area businesses to place students in relevant Youth Apprenticeship opportunities. Worley currently has six students at Bergstrom Automotive, two at Matthews Tire, three at Roehl Transport and one at Packer City International.

Students are able to spend sustained time in one focused area that allows them to see different facets of the industry and relevant careers. Students can not only earn credits but they’ll also have confidence in whether a career in Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics is for them.

Oscar Nowakowski, an Appleton East Senior says “I always get asked what I want to do for a living. Youth Apprenticeship narrows down my choices but in a good way. It’s an amazing program that lets students leave school to go to work and experience real life. With us being able to choose what we job we do, it forces us to make connections with employers and gives us actual work experiences.”

Nowakowski continues, “most importantly, it narrows down what jobs we are interested in in the future and helps us decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives.”

Other classes offered range from Small Engines & Transportation, which is designed for the student who wants to learn the proper and safe use of hand and power tools to efficiently repair, troubleshoot, and rebuild small engines; to Auto ABC's which provides students with the knowledge to make economical decisions and take preventative measures to enhance the overall satisfaction of being an automotive consumer. 

The AASD offers a Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics pathway that gives students real-world, interactive education using professional-level tools in advanced surroundings. Along with classes, dual credit options, and Youth Apprenticeship, students can take advantage of opportunities through CTE Internships, Job Shadows, Mentorships, and Launch events. Launch events are lunch and learn style events that allow students to visit 1-3 local companies and take a deeper dive into careers connected to their identified career cluster(s). These events are designed to be experiential with a focus on real people at real companies talking about their career paths.