Beginning in fall 2021, the Automotive Services Program will call EAHS home. The program is part of Alamance-Burlington School System’s (ABSS) Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.

The Automotive Services Program is not new to ABSS, nor is it new to Eastern Alamance students, as students can already take auto services classes at the Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC).

However, now students, at Eastern and across the district, will have the ability to take auto services courses at EAHS, as well as at CTEC.

Robin Bowers, ABSS CTE director, said the decision to make EAHS the Auto Services Program home was due to a few factors.

“Looking at the registration data and looking at the student interest in the program, and the fact that they have the shop space available, it was decided to bring it back on site [at EAHS],” Bowers said.

Bowers said that while student interest is “a huge piece of the puzzle,” the school system also looks a labor market data, and that is a significant need for automotive service technicians and mechanics in Alamance County.

She also said since the high school has housed the program previously, there is a shop space already available at the school, which played a role in it being chosen.

If EAHS students wish, they may still take auto services courses at CTEC, but now have the option to stay on campus instead. But, the program calling Eastern home will give many students their first chance to take courses within the auto program.

“When they go to the CTEC location, they have to take two courses due to transportation…” Bowers said. “If they, maybe, don't have room in their schedule for two electives, then this would be available to them on their campus.”

In the Automotive Services Program, there are four specific levels: automotive service fundamentals, auto service I, auto service II and auto service III. Bowers expects automotive service fundamentals and auto service I will be the most popular auto services courses next year at EAHS.

The CTE program is a unique and effective tool to help high school students, potentially, find a career path for the future. Students can even earn ASE (automotive) and CNA (health sciences) certification for free while in high school thanks to the program.

“Our CTE programs aligned to industry certifications to offer the different credential opportunities in high school now,” Bowers said. “It also gives the kids exposure and gives them an opportunity to decide if they like it before they leave high school.”

A decade ago, Bowers said, the CTE program was quite different than it is now. Back then, it focused more on vocational training whereas, presently, its focus is on career technical education to prepare students for their professional careers.

“We've moved more towards aligning with the workforce and offering industry-recognized credentials to students while they're in high school,” Bowers said. “So, for some kids, this means that they'll leave high school and will go right into the workforce. For others, it will give them access to that trade, and some of those skills before they go to a two-year or four-year college or to the military to further that trade.”

Bowers added that just because a student is enrolled in the CTE program, doesn’t mean they will immediately enter the workforce with the job they received training for. Instead, it simply gives them more options after graduation.

The school system is currently searching for a teacher for the program. Bowers said anyone with ASE certification and teaching experience should reach out to the ABSS human resources department or contact EAHS principal Eric Yarbean.