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Wallace and Michelin Join Forces to Provide Student Workshop

6/14/2019

Dothan, Ala.—Wallace Community College-Dothan, in partnership with Michelin Tire Manufacturing, held a three-day workshop for students in the Wiregrass area. Fundamentals of Modern Maintenance gives the students training in the field, with orientation at Wallace and real-world interaction and a tour at Michelin.

“The students gain hands-on experience in our Applied Engineering Technology (AET) program/lab, have an opportunity to tour the AET lab as well as gain hands-on experience at Michelin’s Training center with electrical, hydraulics, and pneumatics,” said Joe Johnson, director of workforce development at Wallace. “At the end of the workshop, the students and their guardians receive a Michelin plant tour. After the tour, we give an overview of WCCD dual enrollment opportunities along with the benefits of the Michelin Tech Scholar program.”

Ben Tew, a recent graduate of Headland High School, was excited to participate in the program. 

“I’ve always been big into hand-on activities. It’s boring to me just sitting somewhere and not doing anything,” Tew said. “I would highly recommend this to everyone else, even if they are only slightly interested.”

During the three-day workshop, students received initial training during lab activities conducted by WCCD’s Steven Tice, applied engineering technology program instructor. Topics included theory of fluid power systems and operation of air and hydraulic test systems, as well as introduction to hydraulics, electrical, and pneumatics. 

“This is a great opportunity for students because they have the opportunity to actively use the knowledge and skills acquired at WCCD and apply it to real world manufacturing equipment,” said Tony Greene, After Cure maintenance supervisor at Michelin. “They are able to see how the skills they would learn at the College transfer over to an industrial plant.”

Students must complete an application to be selected to participate, and the application must contain letters of support from one of their teachers and a guardian.

“We wanted to make sure we targeted high school students who were truly interested in industrial maintenance and a technical career after college,” Greene said. “This also allows us to get to know the students and talk with them one-on-one to better answer their questions.”

Applied Engineering Technology is a growing field and is instructed at a technical level, involving applications of mathematics, science, as well as hands-on training in AC and DC fundamentals, process controls, industrial mechanics, robots, and other fields.

“The Dothan Chamber applauds Michelin and Wallace Community College for their leadership in creating this Fundamentals of Maintenance class and salute the students for participating in this important initiative,” said Dean Mitchell, executive director of the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. “Many career opportunities await those that show the initiative to engage and learn these very valuable skills.”

Mitchell said businesses are always looking for graduates from programs like AET, and getting an early start on learning is a benefit.

“Businesses all across the Wiregrass are looking for people that can work with their hands to help maintain and repair mechanical and industrial equipment and machines,” Mitchell said. “This class shows them what is needed and what it takes to build a career in this field.”

The workshop is designed to create additional awareness of the AET in the local high schools as well as the benefits of the Michelin Tech Scholar program.

Students can apply for dual enrollment scholarships for the AET program and gain a better overall understanding of the Michelin Tech Scholarship program and the aptitude test that is given to qualify for the Tech Scholar program.

Students who participated were Ben Tew - Headland High School, David Baxter - Cottonwood High School, Kendle Sullivan - Ariton High School, and Clint Hatcher - Cottonwood High School.

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