The Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education’s Automotive Technology program is taking a quantum leap forward this year. At a recent open house, CTE unveiled one of its two state-of-the-art auto laboratories, and attendees came away impressed.
One of the new labs is located at CTE’s John Magnus Center property in Clare; the other, whose opening will be celebrated in November, is housed at Gladwin High School. The Sept. 24 event in Clare featured guests from local businesses, students giving tours, and CTE stakeholders of all stripes enjoying the chance to get an inside look at the lab’s new equipment.
Preston Gross, a junior from Clare, served as one of the student hosts for the event. He said the kids in his class are blown away by the potential arising from the new lab.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and experience to learn with state-of-the-art equipment,” Gross said. “The lab makes learning about Auto Tech fun, and although I am not one, I feel like a professional in there. You get to use the best equipment for each task we are given. Everything is so clean and organized. It makes learning a lot easier for me.”
Equipping the new labs was made possible by a $1.25 million grant through the state’s Marshall Plan for Talent Innovation. A consortium of more than 30 local organizations, led by the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, which oversees CTE, applied for the grant.
“This event — and the corresponding open house we’ll hold in the revamped Gladwin auto lab on Nov. 7 — are celebrations of community collaboration,” said CGRESD Superintendent Sheryl Presler. “It took an amazing effort by many people to get these labs built, and these beautiful facilities reflect a commitment to CTE by stakeholders across two counties. CTE students are the short-term winners, because they get to experience hands-on learning in cutting-edge work environments. But in the longer term, more and more, those skills they gain are being put right back into our community’s workplaces.”
Gross said the new lab amplifies students’ overall CTE experience.
“I’m most excited to get my hands on the wheel balance machine,” he said. “I haven’t seen one like it before. I really love coming to CTE everyday. It’s a lot different than I thought it would be. Everyone is so welcoming and wants the best for all of the kids. Our instructor makes sure we have the best learning experience. I’m having tons of fun with the program.”