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During Back-To-School, Renewed Respect For Vocational Training

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(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As school gets back in session, vocational education is getting new respect. With college tuition high and entry level jobs still scarce, students are looking at training-for-employment. Automotive technology is an area where employers say hiring will be robust.

Remember the days of the candy-colored tangerine flake streamline baby, when backyard mechanics could customize their cars? Try that nowadays, warns mechanic Chip Bissey, of J and C Auto in the Northeast.

“You’re going to wind up shorting out a computer or something like that and one cross of a wrong wire and you’re out $1,200.”

Which is why mechanics are now known as ‘techs,’ “it is a technician and not a mechanic and they will be hitting enter into a computer more than they will be turning a wrench.”

And they’ve become crucial players for the Delaware Valley auto dealers, according to their association executive director Kevin Mazzucola.

“That’s why it’s so vital that these techs come up through the ranks and replace those that are getting older.”

Mazzucola says dealers work with area vocational schools to make sure techs are trained for the estimated 3-million repairs they do a year. And placement rates after graduation are over 90 percent.

“That’s portable with you wherever you go. You have a valuable talent that is in need around the country.”

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