WAMU radio reporter Kavitha Cardoza (left) interviews Shoreline Community College student Erickson Aleman on Monday, July 22, 2013, in the Professional Automotive Training Center. More photos
Students, teachers and employers know that the General Service Technician program is a great story and this September, listeners to public radio stations across the country will know it, too.
“A year ago, we did a series on why students drop out of high school,” said Kavitha Cardoza, education reporter and special correspondent for WAMU, the public radio station affiliated with American University in Washington, D.C. “We got feedback from across the country to do a story about what happens to these people after dropping out, that there are great programs, great things going on.”
That feedback led Cardoza to a program born in Washington state, Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training or I-BEST, and then the automotive General Service Technician (GST) program at Shoreline. Cardoza spent the morning of July 22, 2013, interviewing and taking pictures of GST instructor Mark Hankins, GST I-BEST instructor Betsy Binnian and a number of students.
“We’re working on an hour-long documentary that will air sometime in September,” Cardoza said, adding that some related shorter stories may air in the time leading up to the documentary. “There is no deadline, just how fast I can get it all done.”
The GST program is a job training program designed primarily for students interested in introductory automotive training. Over three academic quarters, students learn and perform basic automotive diagnosis and repair, using the appropriate tools, across the eight major areas of automotive technology. Students also learn auto shop and personal safety parameters along with work readiness behavior and skills.
I-BEST classes such as GST are team-taught by a skills instructor and a basic education skills instructor. Language and math skills are taught in the context of apply them to the skills that are being practiced and learned. Besides GST, Shoreline offers I-BEST programs in manufacturing/machinist, certified nursing assistant and certified office assistant.
Coming to Shoreline with Cardoza was Louisa Erickson, lead staff member on I-BEST at the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Erickson not only helps coordinate I-BEST efforts in Washington, but also works with a grant-funded national program called “Accelerating Opportunity: A Breaking Through Initiative.” The goal is to build on Washington’s success in Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina.
Accelerating Opportunity is a partnership with the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the National Council for Workforce Education, and the National College Transition Network. The initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.