An automotive program at George Washington High School in San Francisco, California is working to help revive automotive classes in high schools, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
First starting as an after-school program in 2010, automotive studies were in such demand that the school made it an elective as of 2013.
Prior to the program’s launch, the school had an auto program that shut down in 2006. The San Francisco Unified School District decided to explore restoring it in 2008 and brought on Andre Higginbotham, a former history teacher, to lead the class.
“Around the ’90s, there was a big push for students to attend traditional (four-year) colleges,” stated Higginbotham. “At the same time, we had a generation of shop teachers retiring. For the overwhelming majority of school districts, that pretty much killed most of the trade programs for teens.”
When the program was relaunched, they made do with donated supplies until 2018, when the class applied for and won a million-dollar grant to upgrade the shop and tools.
Rick Greenspan, who has taught the automotive technology program at the College of Alameda for more than 40 years, said that the Bay Area has more job openings than ever for technicians–but as high school trade programs dwindle, so do the number of individuals in the fields.