Pepin Academies offers an Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair program. An introductory course is offered as an elective. Steve Conti, a veteran educator, leads the department. Recently, Manny Ryals from Hunter Engineering brought a portable tire demonstration to the Riverview campus. Ryals’ demonstration was held in a trailer.
Conti said, “Every mechanic starts under a carport or in their mother’s garage.”
Conti explained that students learn the basics. This includes how to read symbols, where to place a jack, where the fluids are, how to write service orders, how to dress appropriately and how to greet customers. They also learn about suspension, tires and brakes.
Conti further explained that Brandon Ford is partnering with the school to help with ACE-certified training, which allows students to be hired as basic lube technicians, gain experience and move up to more expert level positions.
UTI (Universal Technical Institute) in Orlando, which offers Automotive Technology programs, has also come to the campus.
Conti would like an automotive detailing program added to the curriculum with the assistance of Artex Detail Supply.
According to Conti, there are plenty of good jobs available in the auto industry.
He said, “We teach the basics so that students can get a ground-level job and then be trained further.”
Ryals said, “Working in the auto industry is a great way to make a living. I was considered an essential worker. No one in the industry ceased to earn a living. People have to drive a car.”
Thalia Gonzalez, a 10th grade student, plans to take the course next year.
Gonzalez said, “Hopefully, in the future, I can learn more about cars and how to fix them.”
Alizah Smith, an 11th grade student, has taken the course twice. He wants to become a police officer.
Smith said, “I will be able to work at a car dealership while I am in college. It will also help when I am working as a police officer.”
Addisen Grimes will be taking the course next year. Grimes said, “This seems interesting and like a good skill to have.”
The Pepin Academies Riverview campus is located at 9304 Camden Field Pkwy. For more information, please visit www.pepinacademies.com or call 813-533-2999.