Akron Public Schools and Bridgestone Americas, Inc. announced the new Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology, which will bring a Firestone Complete Auto Care (FCAC) center to East Community Learning Center (CLC) in the fall of the 2018-2019 school year.
The center will give up to 100 students hands-on experience working with automotive technology while learning business practices necessary to run a retail store. Bridgestone will also become a Named Academy Partner in the growing community of businesses engaging in the new College & Career Academies of Akron for APS high schools.
Akron Public Schools will retrofit a portion of the existing Automotive Technology lab at East CLC in conjunction with Bridgestone, which will donate materials, fixtures, and point-of-sale systems. The center will come complete with software programs, customer waiting area and equipment to service vehicles. Uniformed students will provide limited auto maintenance services to the local community while practicing exemplary customer service and business acumen. All revenue generated from service and sales will be reinvested into the program.
“The Automotive Technology program at East CLC has a long history of teaching students auto repair skills,” Chadwick Groom, East CLC automotive technology teacher said. “This collaboration with Bridgestone will strengthen our curriculum by providing students with more advanced training while learning about customer service and business fundamentals.”
“Bridgestone is thrilled to be part of the College & Career Academies of Akron. This collaboration underscores our long-term, deep-seated commitment and ties to the Akron community and education in particular,” said Christine Karbowiak, chief administrative officer, chief risk officer and executive vice president for Bridgestone Americas. “Bridgestone is a leader in innovation, and this training center is a tangible representation of Our Way to Serve, our corporate social responsibility commitment. The center reflects our dedication to educating the next generation of automotive and retail professionals, using the latest technology, operational procedures and business practices offered in our Firestone Complete Auto Care tire and automotive service centers.”
This new center was inspired by Maplewood High School Automotive Training Center, a public-private collaboration between Bridgestone and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools to benefit Nashville education. Since the beginning of the collaboration in 2015, Bridgestone has hired 17 Maplewood graduates as store teammates and 12 as interns at Firestone Complete Auto Care locations in the Nashville region.
“We are grateful for the investment Bridgestone Americas has made in our students at East CLC,” APS Superintendent David W. James said. “This collaboration marks another step forward in the transformation of APS high school education to College & Career Academies, providing all students with the opportunity to explore their world in greater depth and achieve success after graduation.”
APS was designated a Ford Next Generation Learning Community in May 2017. Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is supporting the transformation of public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today’s competitive global economy. College and Career Academies of Akron are supported by the following key strategic partners: GAR Foundation, United Way of Summit County, ConxusNEO, Summit Education Initiative and Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.
The collaboration between Akron Public Schools and Bridgestone was formed with the help of United Way of Summit County. In May, APS announced that United Way would serve as a link between the College and Career Academies of Akron and local businesses to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students and to strengthen the education to employment pipeline in Summit County.
“United Way is proud to work with Bridgestone Americas, Inc. to bring the Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology to East CLC,” said Jim Mullen, United Way president and CEO. “Akron Public Schools, through their College and Career Academies, are transforming their educational model. The investment from Bridgestone will help them create exciting new learning experiences that will prepare students with valuable skills for future success.”