Fast Track Pathway to a Career

Coconut Telegraph

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative has partnered with eight local automotive dealerships to provide a fast-track pathway to becoming an automotive technician.  Given the shortage of mechanics, CareerEdge worked with Suncoast Technical College (STC) to create an “express program” in the evenings so that entry-level employees can receive both on-the-job as well as classroom training. Participating employers include: Gettel Automotive, Sunset Auto Group, PetersonToyota of Sarasota, Venice Honda, Wilde Automotive, Sarasota Mitsubishi, and Howard Lincoln and Mazda.  These organizationswill hire individuals with no experience at $12 per hour for full or part-time trainee positions.  The new hires must then attend the mandatory, free 11-week automotive training program at STC’s Beneva Road campus on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., from August 21 to October 30. After completing the 11-week class, they will be paid $13 per hour full time with benefits and have the potential for additional industry certifications and growth at the dealerships.  Average wages for mechanics are between $40,000 and $50,000, with some earning upwards of six figures. The training, funded by Gulf Coast Community Foundation donor Walt Eppard, is a revised version of the college’s year-long program and includes CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers soft skills training, as well as financial education class.


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