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Mount Vernon City School District automotive program expanded to Rebecca Turner Academy

Mount Vernon City School District automotive program expanded to Rebecca Turner Academy

Mount Vernon City School District, Rockland Community College and Ford officials gathered in the auto shop at Mount Vernon High School, surrounded by automotive equipment and cars, to announce the expansion of the Ford Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) program. The expansion of the program was announced on Thursday, November 16, 2023. 

Mr. Simmons speaking at podium.

“It’s a very lucrative field, and the field has grown,” said Dr. Egbert Shillingford, automotive program director at Rockland Community College. “There is a huge need for technicians. The actual program is in the field of STEM. Automotive now is very electrical and it is all computerized. It involves a high level of skill.” 

Dr. Shillingford highlighted the instruction method of “earn while you learn,” where students are able to get experience and make money working in dealerships while they complete their education. Only 16 students are accepted into the program at Rockland.  

Rockland Community College’s automotive program has had a seven-year partnership with Ford, and this partnership was brought to Mount Vernon High School last year. This year, it will also be available to Rebecca Turner Academy students.  

Earle Mitchell speaking to a Rebecca Turner Academy student.

“It is always great when you allow your students to choose the direction in which they want to go,” said Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith. “It is so nice that we afford students the opportunity to explore career paths. I think that is amazing. Here at the New Mount Vernon High School, we have a holistic approach to education. We look at students’ academics, emotional state of students and we want to put them on the right path. 

The partnership with Rockland allows for advanced opportunities for Mount Vernon students. Rockland is planning to establish an articulation agreement where Mount Vernon automotive students can receive advanced college credit for participating in the ACE program. This makes it easier for students to graduate high school, enter Rockland’s program and receive an automotive associate’s degree. 

Dr. Smith and President Kirwan watching presentation.

“Being a graduate, it has been my honor and pleasure to bring an opportunity that Ford finds extremely valuable to this institution,” said Earle Mitchell, Ford regional technical placement specialist. “There is a lot that has gone into making sure that the students get what they're supposed to get. The continuing ACE program that Ford has extended to Rebecca Turner is extremely important for the City of Mount Vernon because it is expanding opportunity to more students. This certification will follow you for the rest of your life.”

Ford’s partnership gives students a networking advantage at the Ford dealerships in the area, and students can get advanced training with one of the top car manufacturers, setting up a lucrative career right out of high school, trade school or college. 

“This is an incredible opportunity for students, but it is also an incredible career opportunity,” said Brian Simmons, director of CTE. “The automotive industry in America is basically fighting for its survival. The question is, ‘will we lead the future.’ Much like the space race in the 1950s, where the question was ‘Who will be the first one to land a man on the moon.’ Right now, the question is, ‘Who’s going to own the E vehicles of the future?’” 

Kenneth Mack speaking about life after high school and opportunities from CTE.

Many companies in the automotive industry have expanded into electric vehicles, and Ford has done so as well. Working on Ford’s electric vehicles during training will give students an advantage over people who have not had the opportunity to acquire those skills. As electric vehicles become more common, these students will already be qualified and ready to work.  

Ford brought their mobile service van to show students and attendees one of the tools they would use working for a Ford dealership. The van has all the tools needed to repair recalls and do minor services to vehicles. 

Kenneth Mack, a 2023 Mount Vernon High School graduate, participated in the program last year and is now attending the Universal Technical Institute to pursue an automotive career. He is also working with Jaguar Land Rover.

Troy Newbey and a Rebecca Turner Academy student.
Board of Trustees President Kirwan speaking at Auto event.
Dr. Pearce speaking at podium next to Dr. Shillingford


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Principals at each building in the Mount Vernon City School District have recently identified their Teachers of the Year based on the three criteria of instruction, attendance, and contribution to school culture and climate. View the Teachers of the Year here.

Lowes Moore Q+A

Lowes Moore, MVHS Class of 1976 graduate, is a former NBA basketball star and coach, and he served as Executive Director and Director of Development at the Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon for 27 years. He now hosts a podcast and runs Lowes Moore Global Communications.  

View the Q+A with Lowes Moore here!

Students in a court room on steps.

Applications for the 15th annual Scales of Justice Academy (SJA) at Fordham University School of Law and The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University have been extended and are open until Saturday, June 15, 2024. The program will begin on Monday, July 22, at both locations. Legal courses will be taught by over 40 volunteer judges, lawyers, law professors, law students and elected officials.

Click here for the Fordham University SJA Application (July 22-31)

Click here for the Pace University SJA Application (July 22-26)