Twenty one new students at Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) – a public career technical education district – are set to begin in-person instruction as part of a newly-announced Powersports Technician certification program.
The two-year program at the approximately 8,000-square-foot facility in West-MEC’s Northwest campus at 13201 W. Grand Avenue, Surprise, will provide students with the skills necessary to diagnose, fix, support and maintain a variety of powersport vehicles.
Knowledge taken from lab work and classes with West-MEC powersports instructor Matt Still will range from theory of combustion engines, fundamentals of electricity, brakes and many other aspects that will help develop quality technicians able to excel in the industry, providing a pathway for alumni toward West-MEC’s goal of economic independence.
“This program has viability and this program has strength because companies have a need for skilled workers who can come out of their training ready to go. Our industry partners are everywhere, they’re all over the place, and I believe a lot of them are looking for workers,” Still said.
Before any first-year student even touched a tool in the lab, West-MEC staff had already brought in several vehicles, ranging from a BMW motorcycle, a jet ski, several golf carts and more to allow program students a wide range of experience of engines and systems and knowledge about each.
And, Still says there is even more room for growth as the program expands and students and instructors are able to offer feedback.
“This inaugural class is going to be integral in helping me develop the program further along. We’re going to see the parts, and look at what specialty tools and equipment we’re going to need to purchase down the line. And they’ll be doing it keeping a customer and employee mindset thinking about what they’ll need to do to be the best technicians possible when they’re done here,” he said.
If the first-year program is as successful as he believes it will be, there could be a bright future ahead for powersports technicians at West-MEC.
“There was enough engagement and interest, even with COVID concerns, that we had 21 students of a max 25 that found out about it and wanted to know more and get learning in this lab space,” Still said. “So we figure with more exposure and another year, that next year there’s going to definitely be more demand for it.”