GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A new program allows high school students to earn a college diploma before they graduate.
It's a partnership between Green Bay Public Schools, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the Ford Motor Company.
Inside City Stadium Automotive at Green Bay East High School, the first-of-its-kind program in the state was announced Thursday by Ford, which says it's time to switch gears in finding future automotive workers.
"We do lose a lot of kids to other fields if we wait until college, and those kids may not realize the potential that's there in the automotive business, the amount of technology that's there, the amount of difficult repair scenarios they may get into and engineering design," says Brandon Dixon, Ford Motor Company field service engineer.
"There's a very large need for it, and the industry is hurting for qualified technicians, so there's a lot of interest here at Green Bay East High School," adds Clint Braun, a City Stadium Automotive instructor supplied by NWTC.
Ford's Automotive Career Exploration program, called ACE, includes the donation of a modern engine from two local Ford dealers: Dorsch Ford and Broadway Automotive.
"And then we go to the next level and give them access to our technical training systems that our dealership technicians use -- and that's the most modern training out there," says Dixon.
Along with the enhanced training provided, students will also have the opportunity to earn one year's worth of college credits.
"24 credits, college credits. They are getting one full year of college between their junior and senior years here. They're getting a full technical diploma in automotive maintenance technology. You don't see that anywhere else in the state," says Gene Francisco, NWTC Associate Dean of Construction and Transportation.