November 14, 2022 -- Fort Hayes Career Center students interested in pursuing careers in the automotive industry got ready for their first day of on-the-job training at Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) and its Vehicle Maintenance Pre-Apprentice program. The District’s partnership with COTA allows students to receive hands-on experience and earn money for doing so – $15 an hour.
Upon completion of their junior year, students in a participating career-technical program can work as paid interns in COTA’s Vehicle Maintenance Department.
Students receive work-based training, hands-on training, and laboratory experiences. They are partnered with mentors in preparation to enter the workforce as entry-level automotive/collision technologies service technicians. Most mentors completed the program as apprentices and have used that experience to propel a career at COTA.
“A pre-apprenticeship makes it easier to transfer into the real world, and it’s a great opportunity to network and meet people,” said COTA vehicle maintenance mentor Delon Roberts.
To be accepted into the program, students need to have an instructor recommendation, be on track for graduation, and have no disciplinary issues. In addition, a 93% attendance policy at school and work is expected, and job-related grades must be at a B-average or better.
“I am so proud – my son did this all by himself and took every opportunity to become part of this program,” said Mickie Hatnot, parent of pre-apprentice Harold Hatnot.
Every other week students rotate between their internship and school. During their job-training weeks, they report to work from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The goal is to prepare students to become life-long learners and productive members of society who excel as they enter the workforce or transition into post-secondary training. In addition, they learn how to budget money for their future financial independence. COTA is committed to moving every life forward by fostering the education and interests of the students pursuing careers in the automotive industry.
COTA has had 27 interns through this program, with 13 hired after their internship. The current students are excited to be the fifth class to graduate from the apprenticeship. They are looking forward to the pre-apprenticeship and the future opportunities it may bring.