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Automotive program recognized nationally
WEB central FILE ART
David Drewke and a teammate prepare to put a new battery into a Forsyth Central electric car driven by Brad Darsey during North Georgia's first Electrathon America race at the school's Cumming campus. - photo by File photo

Forsyth Central High School’s automotive technology program has received national recognition.

Marlo Miranda, the program’s instructor, said he recently received word that school’s program is the only one in the nation to become a master accredited program through the National Technicians Education Foundation, or NATEF.  NATEF accredits more than 2,000 automobile, collision repair, truck, natural gas and liquefied petroleum programs throughout secondary and post-secondary institutions across the nation.

NATEF provides oversight in the instruction in a number of automotive categories, such as brake and engine repair.
Miranda said while Central’s program has been accredited in four areas since 2004 and in six of the eight since 2006, as a master accredited program, the Central’s program has now been accredited in all eight areas overseen by NATEF.

Not only is the program accredited in all eight areas, but it also is accredited at the highest level possible in all the areas.
“We are the only comprehensive high school in the nation to reach that level,” Miranda said. “As a result of the master accreditation, we’ve added two components to our program … and we’re now teaching 1,265 hours and over 450 tasks on the required task list.”

Miranda said the program offers many advantages for students.  “Most automotive programs teach only about 540 hours of training for the basic level of accreditation,” he said. “We teach more than twice that…we also allow freshmen in the program, which is not what most schools in the state do. We want as many program completers as want to take the program.”  Students can also earn up to 17 credits that they can use when they go to a post-secondary training program.  “So some of them will go enter college programs as a junior,” Miranda said.

The master accreditation also makes entering a post-secondary program or finding a job much easier, he said.
“Their marketability is enormous compared to the average automotive student,” he said. “[That accreditation level] shows the commitment that the school district, the school and the instructor have to training kids at a much higher level than is typical.”