Published: Aug 11, 2010 12:37 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 10, 2010 9:35 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - The School District of Collier County is pleased to announce that the Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology’s (LWIT) Automotive Service Technology program was named a National School of Excellence at the 2010 Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) National Conference.  There are 341 AYES automotive programs nationally, and LWIT was one of only three to be given this designation.

AYES programs serve high school juniors and seniors training under ASE-certified (Automotive Service Excellence, the gold standard of certifications in the automotive industry) programs and teachers for careers in automotive technology.  They exist at high schools with automotive programs, and at post secondary institutions that allow high school students to dually enroll in their program.  AYES programs utilize strong partnerships with local dealerships to provide a rigorous experience for students.  LWIT’s partner dealerships serve on its Automotive Advisory Council, provide students with paid summer internships and unpaid work experiences during the school year, assign current working professionals as mentors to LWIT students, donate equipment (most recently, a Lexus!), and help underwrite the cost of tools.

The success of the entire LWIT Automotive Service Tech program, including the AYES program, is a result of the partnership between the two LWIT Automotive Service instructors, Armando Padilla and Eduardo Cruz, who collaboratively serve both adult and high school students enrolled at LWIT; their department chair, Chris Fowler; department aide, Gerry Soffin; business partners who have worked with LWIT for years; and of course students.  Mr. Cruz, who is the primary instructor for the high school students, was previously named the AYES National Automotive Instructor of the Year.