RATTLER'S AUTOMOTIVE CAREER ACADEMY
FUNDING VOCATIONAL/EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: RATTLERS’ AUTOMOTIVE CAREER ACADEMY
In the area of Career/Technical Education (CTE), the Palm Springs Unified School District offers a series of specialized career-pathway “Academies” within the district, which prepare students for post-graduation vocations, or post-secondary higher education, in areas ranging from public safety to the culinary arts to health care.
One such Academy is RACE, or “Rattler Automotive Careers Education” (the “Rattlers” are the official mascot of Rancho Mirage High School). RACE prepares students for eventual employment in the automotive and transportation fields. Students are introduced to automotive, rail systems, marine applications, small engine, and specialty equipment.
In the RACE Academy, students learn how to identify the different parts of a car and its systems. Courses are principally designed to prepare students for employment in the automotive service industry. They are trained in basic skills related to tires, batteries, accessories, electrical, cooling systems, and fuel systems. Instruction includes both theory and lab experiences. Internship opportunities with local auto dealers and service departments are available to advanced students during their final year.
Enriching, Foundation-underwritten field trips are contributing to the development of our RACE students into educated young men and women who possess more knowledge about historic and classic cars; the world of car design; and how science and math contribute to the mechanics and operation of today’s automobiles.
In 2017-18, Rancho Mirage High School Assistant Principal Julio Omier chaperoned 15 RACE (Rattlers’ Automotive Career Education) Academy seniors to the Detroit area. The purpose of the trip was to expose automotive-oriented students to both the history of the automotive industry and to contemporary career opportunities around the design and manufacture of vehicles.
A special tour of the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation exposed the students to the history of American automotive genius, as well as to American manufacturing innovation in all its forms, bringing to life Henry Ford's own belief that one should "learn to do by doing." Then a tour of the Ford Rouge Factory gave students an inside look at how Ford's most popular vehicle, the Ford F-150 truck, is designed and produced, and a peek at modern manufacturing's most progressive concepts, including 21st-century sustainable design.
Importantly, this trip was many students' first time traveling out of state, and for others it was the first time on an airplane trip. Funded by a family foundation grant, it not only ignited and fed students' interest in the automotive field as a career, but was a life-changing journey outside their own world. (we can’t use the donors name without permission so its best to leave it out)
The impact of these well-defined travel experiences is increasing our students’ knowledge and skill level which will be needed for success in postsecondary education and employment. As a result students are better prepared to make choices and manage their trajectory over the next few years. It prepares our youth for high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand automotive careers.