It’s not every day Marlo Miranda gets to work in an active car dealership, fine-tuning and operating on vehicles.
For a week this summer, though, the Forsyth Central High School automotive technologies instructor was given the opportunity to do just that at Andean Chevrolet in Cumming.
For five days, beginning June 19, Miranda spent his afternoons at the dealership as part of a Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) externship offered to 20 teachers across the state.
“The externship really helps you get a perspective on what a local dealership is doing, what needs they have and what skills my students need to have before they get there so that they’re better prepared when I put them in an internship,” Miranda said. “The most glaring [aspect] I noticed was electrical – cars now are so complicated and students have to have a very extensive training in electrical or they’re not gonna make it in the industry.”
This is the first year the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education, or GACTE, and the CTAE Resource Network offered the program.
Each day, said Miranda, who is a previous Forsyth County Schools Teacher of the Year award recipient, he worked with various technicians on all kinds of car problems, from electrical issues to diagnostic problems to “problem cars” – those that were back in the shop for a recurring or similar problem.
As well as providing him with updated, hands-on experience, Miranda said the experience allowed him to help Andean Chevrolet, too.
“Being assigned to a technician for most of the day, I was able to help the dealership most by doing in-house training and helping them with diagnostic problems,” he said. “Whenever they have what is considered a problem car, the shop foreman gets involved and I’d help him out, which was huge in giving them a little more space to get things done.”
Despite doing some teaching of his own during the externship, Miranda said he most enjoyed being back in the thick of things.
“I think my favorite thing was getting an up-close look at a career I was in for 27 years and watching how it has evolved,” he said. “I put in 30-40 hours a year of training trying to stay current, but if you’re not doing it every single day, you lose that edge.
“The externship gave me the verification that I was actually caught up and I feel like I got my edge back.”