Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (Bridgestone) and Firestone Complete Auto Care are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the collaboration with Akron Public Schools (APS) by hosting 90 students from East Community Learning Center (CLC) for an Experiential Learning Day at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center (ATC) in Akron, Ohio. In July 2018, Bridgestone teamed up with APS to announce the new Bridgestone Academy of Applied Engineering and Technology, which is located at a Firestone Complete Auto Care center within the East CLC’s Automotive Technology Center. The Bridgestone Academy allows students to gain hands-on experience with automotive technology and procedures.
Following the Experiential Learning Day, Bridgestone will celebrate the anniversary milestone with the students from the Bridgestone Academy, along with Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James, United Way of Summit County President and CEO, Jim Mullen, and Bob Lux, director of program engineering, Bridgestone, among others.
“As a company dedicated to advancing the automotive industry through intelligent technologies and products, Bridgestone is proud to celebrate this milestone that has provided a great deal of learning to the students of Akron,” said Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer, Bridgestone Americas. “The Bridgestone Academy at the East CLC teaches students the latest technology, operational procedures and business practices used across the country at our 2,200 Bridgestone Retail Operations tire and automotive service stores. The collaboration between Bridgestone and Akron Public Schools supports our efforts and goals to make education accessible and inclusive to more people.”
With the help of Bridgestone in 2018, Akron Public Schools retrofitted a portion of the existing automotive technology lab at the East CLC. Bridgestone donated materials, fixtures, and point-of-sale systems that are used nationwide across the Bridgestone Retail Operations service network. Today, the East CLC Automotive Technology Center is a complete working automotive repair center with state-of-the-art software programs, a customer waiting area and equipment to service vehicles. All revenue generated from service and sales at the center is reinvested back into the program.
“The relationship between Bridgestone Americas and East Community Learning Center is helping our students gain relevant, real-world skills to be successful after high school,” said Akron Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David James. “Not only are they learning technical and fundamental business skills, but they are also learning important professional skills needed for the workplace.”
Over the past year, Bridgestone and APS have provided students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with top-of-the-line automotive technology while learning the importance of retail and business acumen. As part of the program, students spend a portion of the semester training in the auto shop serving real customers, and they learn the technical aspects of the job by providing limited auto maintenance services to the local community. Students can also complete the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified curriculum and earn certifications before graduation. After graduation, Bridgestone provides mentorship and internship opportunities to students in the Akron area.
The relationship between Akron Public Schools and Bridgestone was formed with the help of United Way of Summit County. United Way serves 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 local economy requires a steady stream of new, talented, young professionals,” said Jim Mullen, President and CEO of United Way of Summit County. “The future of our community is in our classrooms, and this program is helping to ensure students leave school with the skills they need to succeed.”