Auto Tech Classes Lead to O’Reilly’s Internship

Auto Tech Classes Lead to O’Reilly’s Internship
Posted on 09/19/2019
Auto Tech Classes Lead to O’Reilly’s Internship

Paul Vidrine got his first taste last year of automotive tech classes at Nacogdoches High School, and he liked it. So much so, that by the end of the school year, the junior had won a paid internship at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts in Nacogdoches.

Now, at the beginning of his senior year, Vidrine has plans in place for after graduation. He’s already been accepted into the U.S. Army where he will be a mechanic.

Vidrine’s rapid ascent in the school’s automotive tech program is another example of what instructor Aaron Cabaniss describes as a way both students and the Nacogdoches business community can benefit.

“From day one, [Vidrine] has been totally invested in this,” said Cabaniss.

Vidrine was one of three NHS automotive tech students interviewed last spring by O’Reilly’s officials. It worked out so well for the autoparts retailer, manager Wade Liber is interested in adding another student worker.

That sort of outcome corresponds to the vision Cabaniss has for his program, where students would ultimately spend four years receiving training at NHS in the auto repair and maintenance industry. Once completed, that would leave students ready to begin work in a garage or shop following graduation, or even earlier, Cabaniss said, an outcome that benefits the students and the employers.

“We’ll be providing four years of on the job training,” he said. Finding experienced staff for a garage is no easy thing in Nacogdoches, but the NHS teacher is offering to help train prospective techs to fill those roles.

Last year, Tipton Ford took him up on the deal and hired two students to work in their garage during the spring semester. Those students were acknowledged during graduation ceremonies in May for having successfully completed the NHS Ford Factory Training Program and Tipton Ford Motor Company Internship.

“These types of relationships are exactly what we envision for our career and technical education program,” said Don Hasley, NISD’s Director of CTE. “It’s exciting to see these types of collaboration between the community and NHS. It’s precisely what we’re looking to expand upon.”

So far, it’s been Tipton and O’Reilly’s that have participated. As word spreads of the program’s successes, Cabaniss hopes others will agree to join. In fact, he envisions a time where there’s an NHS automotive student at all the major garages around town.

“We’re doing some awesome things here,” said Cabaniss, referencing successes at Nacogdoches High School as well as in the Career and Technical Education department.

“But we need community support to make it happen.”

Last spring, when Cabaniss suggested Vidrine look into the internship, Vidrine jumped at the opportunity.

“I didn’t force him to apply for this position," Cabaniss said. "I only suggested to him that he might be a good fit."

Vidrine will also get a chance to play a role in the evolving automotive tech program at NHS. By January, Cabaniss wants the school’s program to be entirely student run, and that includes operating its own parts store on campus, something Vidrine now has experienced firsthand while working at O’Reilly’s.

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