Automotive Technology Advisory Meeting Minutes

May 3, 2023, 5:00 p.m.  6:30 p.m.

Meeting Place

Workforce Institute, Bistro Verde


Brian Earley, Nancy Sweet, Damon Tanke


Members in Attendance

Todd Cantrell, John Casper, Josh Collins, Robert Edwards, Kevin Johnson, Paul Latsch, Brandon Lewis, David Lett, Earl Lyons, Barbara Messner, Bruce Patarozzi, Candace Silas, Austin Sherrwin.

Members Absent

Jake Brandis, Bill Stoneburner




  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Discussion of curriculum changes for Fall 2023 which include: increased guest speakers from industry, field trips, and job shadowing
  3. Internship Opportunities
  4. Electric Training
  5. Fall Career Expo


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.

2. Curriculum Changes

Brian discussed the curriculum changes for the AUT programs (see attached).  He highlighted a scale back in overall hours for the AAS, contextualized general education courses, internships and an additional electronics course.  Course outcomes were changed for AUT 109 to include more job shadowing, business expectations, guest speakers and field trips. Employers were invited to come speak to the class and/or to host our students in job shadowing or a field trip.  The goal is to expose our students to the industry.  There was content overlap between courses, so some courses were taken out and any uncovered content was redistributed. 

David shared that he just completed a week-long job shadowing experience with four dealerships in Litchfield and Hillsboro.  Groups of 3-4 students went to each dealership for 90 minutes a day for a week.  Everyone was pleased, and he got good student feedback.  David and Eric went to each site and the dealerships reported that everything was going well.  John had a student job shadow; part of the time was in the quick lane and part was with a tech.  It was a good experience.  Earl said that Green could take three students a day. Nancy commented that she would reach out to the PAC to see if LLCC can arrange this type of observation oriented, job shadowing experience.  We are also looking for employers in other counties.  

Nancy and Candace explained that our Workforce Equity Initiative program is working to arrange summer co-ops for our students.  For this program, employers will hire LLCC students and WEI will reimburse the employers depending on employer need.  The focus on this program is on embedded mentoring and the students will get college credit for the experience as well.  Both the WEI co-op experience and AUT internships will focus on students working in industry in several different areas to get a well-rounded experience.  A supervisor will come visit several times during the internship to talk about the student’s growth, strategies for improvement, etc.  The AUT program has six students signed up for internships this summer.  John currently has three interns through the Ford Asset program.  This program consists of an 8 week on, 8 week off partnership for 2 years.  This type of hands-on training helps students apply what they are learning and has a huge impact on retention of information.  There is no mechanical aptitude test required.  The AUT program is considering requiring a mechanical aptitude test similar to our Diesel program.  This would enable our instructors to stress the exact information that students need to learn.

The LLCC AUT program has not been ASE accredited since approximately 2007.  All of our books and manuals are ASE approved; accreditation and testing is covered in classes.  We’re gearing students toward it, but it is not embedded into our program.  Damon and Brian have ASE instructor credentials but not all adjunct faculty do.  Earl said that employees who don’t have ASE credentials can’t keep up in the workplace and encouraged us to prep our students for it thoroughly.  Nancy commented that we have built credentialed testing into our Aviation programs so perhaps we could rethink for Auto.  Bruce thought it would be helpful if LLCC could become an ASE testing center so people wouldn’t have to go to Decatur to test.  LLCC has found it challenging to get ASE to communicate.

3. Electric Training

John believes the most helpful thing that LLCC can do is to continue to teach students electrical in general and to work with them on scanners to ensure students can follow them.  Technicians in dealerships have to have electric vehicle certification.  Electric vehicles are still new to dealerships too.  Currently, they see more hydrogen vehicles.  EVs need different tools for each brand of vehicle and there are many safety issues involved.

4. Fall Career Expo

Career Expo is September 21; we are expecting even more students than last year.  Our goal is to show high schoolers and our students that the trades are all about problem solving and to get them interested.  We will send out flyers and sponsorship opportunities.

There was a discussion about teaching students employability skills.  We are encouraging students to apply for jobs in person rather than online and are teaching students about phone and earbud etiquette as well as other soft skills.  The PAC agreed that these are good ideas, and everyone commented that phones are a huge issue in class as well as in industry.  Students think that they are going to come out of school and get a top industry position when in reality they still need training.  75% of LLCC Auto students come to school with no automotive knowledge or experience at all.  A few of our students have taken dual credit courses at area high schools.  Paul recommended tools on the table identification activities.  John advocated steering students toward the AAS.  

Brian and Nancy highlighted our College for Kids, Career Expo, recruiting at CACC, and high school tours as ways that LLCC is trying to encourage students to go into the trades.  We are pursuing a grant that would enable us to go to high schools and conduct mini-lessons that would gear students toward the trades as well. 

The PAC was thanked for their participation and insights and the meeting was concluded.

Action Items

Arrange week-long job shadowing experiences. Assigned to Nancy. Due September 30, 2023.

Send PAC Career Expo information. Assigned to Nancy. Due August 2023.