The Vocational Advisory Board and automotive industry representatives got a look Thursday morning at Evans High Schools' new Hunter Alignment System.
"This is state-of-the-art for the CSRA," said Michael Canady, the director of career and technology education and alternative programs. "A lot of guys have been knocking on our door trying to get us to train students in this area. This is a move toward becoming NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) certified, and in becoming industry certified, there are certain pieces of equipment that students must be trained on."
Evans High School Automotive Instructor Jimmy Hawk (center) explains how the new wheel alignment equipment works. The purchase of the state-of-the-art equipment moves the school a step closer to becoming industry certified.
The $40,000 computerized wheel alignment system uses radio wave technology.
Using a computer and digital imaging, the equipment sends an infrared signal to panels mounted on the tires. The vehicle is manually rolled on to a ramp while measurements are taken. That information then appears on the computer monitor, which has specifications and video instructions on aligning most makes of automobiles.
There is also a simulator where students can train in a classroom environment without an actual vehicle, said Jimmy Hawk, a automotive technical instructor.
Key Kernaghan, of Kernaghan Paint & Body, and John Saxon, of Columbia Paint & Body, were just two local businessmen who came to see the demonstration of the new equipment. Both are members of the CSRA Collision Industry Association which is working with the school to establish an apprenticeship program.
"We have equipment like it, but not anything this new," Saxon said. "In collision and body repair, it will give us a final solution, show us that the car is going to be done right and perform right, and they are training the students on it."
The fact that students are training on this alignment system and other equipment used in the automotive industry means they can move into the job market and toward becoming industry certified that much sooner, since they will have logged hours of experience using this equipment, Hawk said. To become NATEF certified, one requirement is two years of experience using certain diagnostic equipment, he said.
"It gives us better chances for learning," said Josh Jones, an Evans High junior who wants to be a mechanic when he graduates. "If we have the right equipment, then we'll have a better chance of getting a job when we get out of high school."
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