This archived article was written by: Heather Myers
CEU’s automotive department has been named a state winner of the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation’s Award of Excellence in the Post-Secondary, Generic Program category. Stan Martineau, CEU’s director of the automotive program, will travel to Las Vegas on December 10 to receive this award.
CEU scored less than five percent overall behind the number one school in the nation. There are nine categories and CEU tied scores in the equipment and community involvement categories and was better than the number-one school in the nation in the physical environment of the shop and classroom category.
Last year the department became big enough to have a second classroom. Martineau thinks this helped to advance his department in that category.
Martineau started at CEU four years ago. Enrollment in the automotive department then was seven students and in two years jumped to 31. In fact there is now a waiting list nearly a year long and the automotive classes were closed before classes ended on the first day of registration. The classes have become so sought after that the introductory class would usually only be held once, is being held twice this spring.
Many automotive students go on to good jobs rather quickly after graduation. “There aren’t many jobs down here [Carbon and Emery counties], but if you go up north, you can get a great job.” Martineau said.
One of Martineau’s favorite stories is that of Julie Dalton who graduated from CEU in 2002. She started as a theatre major and an Ambassador, she took an introduction to auto-mechanics and was enthralled. She switched her major and now works for a Mitsubishi dealership in Sandy and makes “excellent wages.”
A problem in the automotive field is technological advancement. As cars become more computer oriented there is more to teach. “I can’t stop teaching the old stuff and just focus on the new stuff because if you work in a garage and someone pulls in a ’67 Chevy that they want to go hunting with, you have to know how to fix that the same as fixing a new car.”
In order to learn the newest and most advanced things to teach Martineau attends training workshops twice a year. He went to Indiana over the summer and will go again in February. CEU is becoming a training center for such things. “If you don’t stay current with your skills, you have a problem. If you don’t go out and learn new things, pretty soon you’ll be unemployable, even if you are the best there is right now.”
CEU is now approved and set up as a regional training center. There will be guest speakers coming from Washington, Oregon, and Montana. They will be top professionals in the industry.
Martineau, with a lot of help and support from the college and community, started putting the program together two years ago. The program is a workshop for people in the automotive industry once a month. They come together and learn about advancements and technique. The first of these workshops was already held earlier this year. There were seven instructors from places as far as Arizona; they are some of the top professors in the industry. There were 20 technicians that took part in the workshop.
When asked why the department is doing so well Martineau said, “I just love cars and think when an instructor loves what they’re doing it shows through and makes the class more enjoyable and that makes it successful.” He also attributes a lot to CEU, the community and local businesses, “If they wouldn’t have helped me get the resources I needed, it [the award] never would have happened and this program wouldn’t be where it is today.”