New tire machine at SCCC Automotive Technology lab

The Saline County Career Center was awarded a MO GEER II Grant, as part of the 2020 CARES Act. Based on impact and need Governor Mike Parson, through DESE, established a competitive grant for Missouri’s 57 area career centers.  The grant’s purpose is to enhance the capacity to provide career and technical education in high demand fields.  Eligible expenses must enhance or extend capacities to offer training in high-demand occupations, and may include equipment, materials and supplies, professional development or facility renovation.

SCCC Director, Brian Wilcoxson saw the potential for improvement when DESE issued the grant guidance. 

“The SCCC staff quickly realized the importance of this grant to help bridge the gap between lab / classroom content and the skills our students need to prepare for the workforce.  Equipment used in industry is constantly improving, and often, we do not have the budget to purchase or upgrade. This grant will provide a necessary step to bridge that gap, and will allow for hands-on learning with equipment which meets industry standards.” said Wilcoxson.

The first equipment upgrade provided though the grant is within the Automotive Technology program, taught by Mr. Charles Norman.  Mr. Norman brings 10 years of automotive industry experience to the classroom.  His classes are nearly full with 30 students from Marshall, Malta Bend, Slater and Sweet Springs. 

“When I came into the classroom this year, I recognized that our tire changing equipment was dated.  Although the equipment still allowed students to achieve the skill of mounting and balancing a tire, it needed to be updated to keep in step with the advancing technologies that automotive shops use.”

 As a direct result of Governor Parson’s MO GEER II grant program, this week Mr. Norman’s automotive students accepted delivery of a new lever-less tire changer and a new balancer. Representatives from Hunter Engineering Company were on hand to install and demonstrate the new equipment.  After training and testing, students will soon have the opportunity to use the up-to-date tire equipment.  The equipment purchase totaled over $45,000.

Wilcoxson said there are more equipment purchases on the way to benefit other SCCC programs.  “Keeping up with ever-changing equipment needs to meet industry standards is always a budgetary challenge.  SCCC is benefiting greatly from this grant funding, and we are proud of the work it will enable us to do with our community of students.”

Questions regarding the Saline County Career Center or the Automotive Technology program may be directed to Mr. Brian Wilcoxson, Director at 660.886.6958.