Today Akron Public Schools (APS) Superintendent David James and East Community Learning Center (CLC) Principal Vyrone Finney joined Chief Technology Officer Nizar Trigui of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (Bridgestone) to cut the ribbon and officially open the East CLC Automotive Technology Center in cooperation with Firestone Complete Auto Care. The center will give 100 students hands-on experience working with top-of-the-line automotive technology while learning the business practices necessary to run a retail store.
“We know how critical education is to a sustainable society,” said Nizar Trigui, Chief Technology Officer, Bridgestone Americas. “This center, using the latest technology, operational procedures and business practices offered in our Firestone Complete Auto Care tire and automotive service centers, embodies the company’s corporate social responsibility global commitment, Our Way to Serve, which includes a focus on accessible and inclusive education.”
Akron Public Schools retrofitted a portion of the existing automotive technology lab at East CLC in conjunction with Bridgestone, who donated materials, fixtures, and point-of-sale systems. The center comes complete with software programs, a customer waiting area and equipment to service vehicles, creating a real-world experience for the students. Pat Reams of Reams Enterprises generously volunteered his staff and contractors to complete the build. All revenue generated from service and sales will be reinvested into the program.
“This is a big leap forward for Akron Public Schools. Bridgestone’s initiative to build a retail store creates a real-life experience for our students in an exciting, ever-changing environment that will hold their interest and pique their curiosity every day,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent David W. James.
East CLC Principal Vyrone Finney added, “This is life changing for our students. They will be able to develop skills needed to compete for higher wage careers.”
The collaboration between Akron Public Schools and Bridgestone was formed with the help of United Way of Summit County. Last year, APS announced that United Way would serve as a link between the College and Career Academies of Akron and local businesses to provide hands-on learning opportunities for students and to strengthen the education to employment pipeline in Summit County.
“A successful business community requires a steady stream of new, talented young professionals – fresh faces with fresh ideas. Ultimately, the economic future of our community is in our classrooms,” said Jim Mullen, President and CEO of United Way of Summit County. “By helping to ensure students leave school with the skills they need to succeed, Bridgestone is making an investment that will be felt by everyone who calls Greater Akron their home.”
APS was designated a Ford Next Generation Learning Community in May 2017. Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, is supporting the transformation of public high schools into career-themed academies to better prepare students for college and professional success in today's competitive global economy. College and Career Academies of Akron are supported by the following key strategic partners: GAR Foundation, United Way of Summit County, ConxusNEO, Summit Education Initiative, and Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce.