Automotive Technology Advisory Meeting Minutes

November 1, 2023, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.

Meeting Place

Workforce Institute, Bistro Verde


Brian Earley, Nancy Sweet, Damon Tanke


Members in Attendance

Todd Cantrell, John Casper, Robert Edwards, Kevin Johnson, Paul Latsch, David Lett,  Earl Lyons, Matt McKay, Bruce Patarozzi, Austin Sherwood

Members in Attendance from LLCC: Josh Collins, Brandon Lewis, Barbara Messner, Candace Silas

Members Absent

Jake Brandis, Bill Stoneburner




  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Feedback to industry on AUT 109 Auto Business Management curriculum changes
  3. Discussion on ideal internships 
  4. Creation of specific industry competencies for labs for AUT 101: 
    Maintain a clean, safe and orderly work environment. Apply shop and equipment safety rules. Identify occupational opportunities in the auto service industry. Identify and use basic hand tools, power tools and shop equipment. Perform basic vehicle safety inspections. Perform basic vehicle maintenance and repairs.


1. Welcome and Introductions

Brian, Damon and Nancy welcomed the PAC, thanked them for their involvement and commitment, and asked that everyone introduce themselves and tell how they are associated with LLCC.  Most have been to our career fairs or PAC meetings.  Some have worked with our students and have hired them as employees.  David teaches dual credit courses.  The meeting was catered by the LLCC Culinary Program students.

The purpose of the PAC was explained, and the group was encouraged to give their feedback throughout the meeting and at any time.  Program Advisory Committees have influenced our programs and curriculum.  We value PAC insights, feedback and ideas.

2. Feedback to industry on AUT 109 Auto Business Management curriculum changes

The course AUT 109 was explained.  The feedback we got was that our students had a lack of exposure to industry, so we pulled out the business side of the course and incorporated job shadowing and site visits to industry facilities.  Now, a major focus of the course is on giving students exposure to the auto industry.  This semester we have already had two field trips, one to a private shop and one to a dealership, and we have had five guest speakers from industry.  The PAC was asked if they would be interested in participating in job shadowing with our students.  David Lett explained how they do job shadowing in Litchfield.  Students were put in groups of 3-4 and assigned to a dealership for a full week.  Often they were placed with techs.  Student feedback was very positive; they appreciated the eye-opening experience.  It either affirmed their desire to go into the field or helped them to see that they wanted to pursue something else.  The dealerships they worked with did not give much feedback.  

Green Toyota could take 24 students for job shadowing as soon as we can get things set up.  It is important to train students for interacting with customers.  We have already incorporated this into the class.  Ford can provide a dual aspect job shadowing experience of both parts and management.  Nancy raised the question of how to provide our night students who work during the day with a job shadowing experience.  More and more shops are open later and might be able to accommodate our students.  Friendly Honda is open until 8 pm and some shops are open half days on Saturday.  Litchfield will incorporate the new curriculum this spring.

Field trips and job shadowing help reinforce what our faculty is teaching and makes the learning experience real to our students.  There was general agreement that it is good to get students out into shops and dealerships early.  Industry partners are very willing to help.  Brian and Damon have also taken some students who are interested in getting a bachelor’s degree to SIU.

3. Discussion on ideal internships 

This summer and fall we’ve had more students than ever before in internships.  We are interested in redefining goals for students and for industry hosts for the internship experience to make it even better and would like feedback on best practices.  Damon led the group through the internship handout (see attached).  Students have expressed interest in wanting wider exposure during their internships and not just working on the same tech job the entire time.  If students have a positive experience at an internship site, they will often continue at that location and pass the word to other students.  This is a good way for industry to get leads on new employees, and the paperwork and time load is minimal.  However, students do have to be supervised.  Summer internships are basically full time for 8 weeks.  Semester long internships are longer but are typically only a few hours a day.  Currently the internship is not a requirement, and some students are not able to do one because of certain limitations.  Students have to find a location for their internship.  Industry believes that the following requirements should be in place prior to beginning an internship: 1) driver’s license (DUIs are frowned on), 2) drug test (not for cannabis), 3) letter of recommendation.  Some PAC members felt that as long as an employee or intern can get to work and be there on time, that is sufficient.  It was stressed that job shadowing is observation oriented while the internship is a working, hands-on experience with some variety—a type of graduated experience throughout the internship. We want our students to seek out employment that is a good match for them.  

One of the best ways to get leads on employees to industry partners is through field trips.  Industry often can spot someone they want to work with when they visit their business.  Then they can approach the student about job shadowing and can progress from there.  Good communication is key during internships.  If there are problems or issues, we need to know about them so we can do something about them.  Each intern is different, but all can be successful.  Students should have their own tools to bring in and use during their internship, especially in tech areas.  The issue is that students then have to haul their toolboxes in for class and then over to the internship site.  We are not set up to do a two months on site—two months in class scheduling model like some places do.  Two other important issues for us are finding the balance between academic speak and industry skills and developing learning outcomes that are specific and with exact outcomes.  PAC members were asked to fill out a survey (attached).

4. Creation of specific industry competencies for labs for AUT 101

Brian explained the learning outcomes listed on the agenda.  Damon suggested that we could improve by having digital forms for students to fill out rather than paper forms like we’re currently using. He asked the PAC if they could share the forms that they’re using so we can embed these in our programs. The PAC gave the following feedback: 1) Teach students to write a lot on the forms.  They can never write too much, especially for warranties. 2) Spend time writing work orders. 3) Teach students about evaluating all materials for estimates not just the single part—everything needs to be included.  4) Teach students how to use MPI.  If our students don’t know things you think they should, please tell us.  We can incorporate your suggestions in our courses.  Industry drives us to be better, and we value your input.

The PAC was thanked for their participation and insights, encouraged to have dessert and chat, and the meeting was concluded.