Students work at Career Center Automotive YES internships

Beechmont Toyota Mentor Shawn Lovitt takes a break with Grant Career Center Summer Intern Phillip White during a busy day of AYES training.
Each spring, the Automotive Service Technology juniors gear up their interview and technical skills and present themselves to area dealership service managers in hopes of landing an Automotive YES Summer internship position.

These paid internships reinforce their classroom learning and lab experiences by partnering them with mentors and experienced technicians in the field and preparing them for success in the industry.

In the past few years, placing students has been difficult because of the sagging economy, but this year, there were several dealerships and independent shops that come forward looking for interns to boost their workforce. As part of their training agreement, instructor Lyle Taylor visits the students bi-weekly to check on their progress and collect student documentation on their internship experiences.

The first intern is placed at the AAA/Bob Sumerel Tire and Service on Beechmont Avenue where Service Manager Chris Anderson was very happy with his past hires from Grant. He currently has several Grant graduates on his payroll and would like to clone them for all of his stores.

Serving as a mentor for our summer intern Mike Vornhagen is 2005 graduate Chris Brumley. After completing his associate degree at Sinclair Community College and working at area dealerships, Brumley found a home for the past five years at Bob Sumerel and is excited to be giving back to current students.

“It is good to teach them what I know and see them receive first-hand experience in a real shop. It really is not as easy as a day of school,” he said.

Mike is very happy with his experience and echoes some of the same thoughts.

“I really enjoy the real world experience and like helping people get through difficulties with their cars and get their issues solved and then get them back on the road. I have improved my technical skills and competencies as well as my communication skills with the customers,” he said.

The next intern is located just down the road at Beechmont Toyota. Intern Phillip White is being mentored by 2002 graduate Shawn Lovitt, who completed his internship at Beechmont Toyota in the summer of 2001 and now shares his 11 years of experience with the next wave of students.

Shawn said it was kind of bittersweet because it makes him feel like the “old guy.”

“It is neat to watch the intern grow – just like I did when I went through the program. It is also interesting to see how kids have changed over the years and the generational differences that come into play with this group of young people.”

Phillip was prepared for our visit with his stack of paperwork documenting his recent jobs and skills he had mastered.

“I have learned much more about cars than I already knew. I thought I knew a lot, but I know so much more now!” he said.

Phillip also said this experience will make him better prepared for his senior year and has provided him with great focus for his future. He said he would highly recommend this program to his friends and interested students because he is better prepared for college and eventual employment in the automotive industry.

We also have an intern at Jeff Wyler Imports on State Route 32. Here, Service Manager Jim Buckingham gave us a good report on intern Zane Cassity.

“So far, so good! We are helping him learn how a dealership operates. It is a completely different world than school and it takes time for them to adjust and become acclimated to the business,” Buckingham said.

Cassity was appreciative of the real world experience and liked being able to help guys on the floor get things done.

“I didn’t realize how much I could learn by just being there and helping out. These guys know so much about the vehicles they are working on.”

Cassity is lucky to have secured an internship because of his young age and insurance regulations. He is not allowed to drive vehicles so he has a “handler” who drives vehicles in and out of the shop for him. We are thankful to the dealerships for working around this issue and allowing the students to come in and learn.

Our last two interns, Kody Nickol and Jake Morgan, are employed at Mike Castrucci Chevrolet in Milford. Service Manager Charles Back had only great things to say about Grant students.

“Your students are top notch! I have dealt with many kids over the years and your kids are a cut above the rest. If I am looking for kids to bring up into the business, Grant is a good source of talent.”

He believes the internship program is important because it allows the students to get dealership experience. “It is very basic, but critical for industry success.”

They are using their interns a little differently this year to meet the demand in the dealership. Currently Kody is working as a Lot Tech and running cars in and out of the service bays and helping out wherever needed.

“I have learned to be respectful of customers and how the dealership operates. I know I have my foot in the door and soon I will switch with Jake and go to the Lube Bay and pick up those skills,” he said.

Jake was working in the Lube Bay completing oil changes and minor repairs. He has learned to work with customers and to pick up the pace to keep his clients happy.

“I have learned so much about cars that I didn’t know, and I have gained valuable hands-on experience. I have learned to think on my feet and make decisions. It is so different from the pace we work at school! I think this will make me a much better student my senior year.”

If your soon-to-be junior son or daughter is interested in a career in the automotive industry, investigate career options and college partnerships on our website at or call the Career Center for more information at (513) 734-6222.