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Cisco College and AAEA partner to bring cutting-edge training and career development to the Big Country

November 7, 2022Seaton Higginbotham, Chairman of the AAEA and Dealer Principal of Arrow Ford Mitsubishi

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve shared heavily in this space lately articles about Abilene’s workforce and what organizations across town are doing to help the business community climb this uphill battle.

Today’s article comes to us from the Chairman of the Abilene Automotive Education Alliance and previous Chamber Chair, Seaton Higginbotham, to share what happens when business and education come together as partners to create unique and innovative ideas for the betterment of our business community.

If you have any questions about today’s article or want to take a deeper dive into Abilene’s workforce and the role the business community plays, I encourage you to reach out today. – Doug Peters, President & CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

Cisco College was awarded a grant to incorporate Virtual Reality technology into their curriculum and is partnering with local automotive businesses to provide an exciting new educational opportunity in Abilene.

The VR Automotive Training Program is designed to train students with the applicable skills they need to be successful in the automotive industry. The first class will begin this month, so those interested are encouraged to apply immediately.

The VR Automotive Training program is a six-month course using Virtual Reality technology to teach the anatomy of a vehicle, and common parts and tools, as well as foundational repair and maintenance skills. Students will put these skills to practice in a real-world environment as an apprentice at one of the partnering automotive businesses that make up the Abilene Automotive Education Alliance (AAEA): Arrow, Lawrence Hall, Lithia, Proctor Automotive, and Star.

This outstanding opportunity has removed many of the barriers commonly experienced by someone looking to go back to school or change careers. The Cisco College VR Automotive Training program is grant funded, meaning the student incurs no tuition costs, and the apprenticeship is a paid position, allowing the student to continue to provide for themselves and their families during the transition.

Those who are ready to start their career as an automotive technician should contact Roy Call at Cisco College to learn more about the program and schedule their mechanical aptitude assessment required for admission.

Roy Call
Workforce & Public Services Chair, Cisco College
Phone: (325) 794-4411
Email: roy.call@cisco.edu

The Cisco College VR Automotive Training program is the latest achievement of the AAEA. The AAEA was founded in October of 2017 to bring leadership and real-world relevance to curriculum to prepare students to enter the automotive industry. There is a shortage of qualified automotive technicians locally as well as nationally, and the AAEA member businesses have taken the initiative to train automotive technicians right here in the Big Country. The AAEA collaborates with Abilene ISD and higher education institutions including Cisco College and TSTC to grow our workforce and meet the automotive needs of our community.

“Abilene is like many communities nation-wide that are suffering from a shortage of qualified automotive technicians. What makes us different is the combined effort of our business community through the AAEA and our educational institutions to drive change and grow our own skilled workforce. This program is an exceptional opportunity for the individual looking to move into a meaningful, prosperous career and addresses a need in our industry at a local level.” – Seaton Higginbotham, Chairman of the AAEA and Dealer Principal of Arrow Ford Mitsubishi

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