At a Glance
To help students take advantage of co-op and job opportunities, Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center (WBACTC) has an agreement with a local company to provide driver training to students so that they may obtain their driver’s license.
For many students, transportation barriers can affect their access to jobs and co-op opportunities. At WBACTC, some auto technology students were missing out on good paying jobs at car dealerships because they did not have a driver’s license and, therefore, could not drive the cars on and off the lots. These students instead were working at lower-paying jobs, such as at oil and tire changing businesses.
The WBACTC administration and the OACs worked together to address the transportation issue. They sought out agencies that could provide driver training at a cost-effective price. As a result, WBACTC entered into an agreement with an area driving school to provide driver training to eligible juniors and seniors that would result in students obtaining a driver’s license at the end of the training. WBACTC uses Perkins dollars to pay $200 of the training per student, and the CTC covers another $200 per student. In addition, students pay $100. (Financial support may be available.)
Through the agreement, the driver training agency picks up students from WBACTC for the driving session and then drops them off at their home when the session is done. Although most students complete it at home, students may complete the online component of the training at school if needed. Once students successfully complete the training, they receive their driver’s license and are not required to take another driving test. The auto tech instructor schedules the students with the driving agency and takes care of the required paperwork such as clearances, purchases orders, and certificates of completion.
WBACTC plans to continue offering the program. Auto tech students are taking advantage of the program, and the training is now offered to other students who are interested in pursuing a co-op position. One challenge that the CTC is working to address is compensating the auto tech instructor for the additional responsibilities he has assumed to make the program work, as these duties are not covered in the collective bargaining agreement.
For other CTCs that want to establish a similar program, WABCTC recommends they research agencies to find one that offers a workable fee and provides the training necessary for students to obtain their license at the end of the program.
Approximately 12 students have obtained their license, and as of spring 2019 about five more currently are in the program.