Many automotive and CTE instructors across the country are dealing with budget cuts and underfunded programs. Without the funding to keep up with the quickly evolving automotive industry, instructors struggle to attract students to their program and properly educate students who are interested in the industry.

Facing the high demand for technicians, shops and dealerships are stepping up where they can to help these instructors. Recently, a dealership in Madison, Wisconsin was able to help out a local high school automotive program by simply donating some unused airbags.

Our team had the pleasure of sitting down with Michael Hoerstmann, Service Manager at Metro Ford of Madison, and EJ Pilarski, Automotive Instructor at Jefferson High School, to discuss how the donation took place on WrenchWay School Connect.

WrenchWay: Connecting Schools with Local Shops

Metro Ford Prioritizes Building Relationships with Local Schools

Like any forward-thinking shop, Metro Ford of Madison understands the importance of helping out local schools. This is one of the reasons their shop decided to become a Top Shop on WrenchWay.

Through tactics such as equipment donations, Metro Ford of Madison has been able to connect with more schools and build their reputation with students studying to become automotive technicians.

“We prioritized working with schools a lot more in the past year because we were finding that just posting on Indeed, going to job fairs, and trying to use headhunters to find people wasn’t working well enough. That’s really the reason we got connected with WrenchWay—to be able to connect with the schools, post items that we have to offer, and respond to school requests. It takes a village to get this done and we can’t do it ourselves. The schools have needs, but we, shops, don’t always know it. Then, on the contrary, schools don’t always know what shops have to offer. So, WrenchWay does a great job at connecting the two.”

Michael Hoerstmann, Service Manager, Metro Ford of Madison

Airbag Donation Begins New Relationship

After a regularly scheduled inventory session, Metro Ford of Madison realized they had a surplus of airbags in stock. Instead of selling the airbags online or leaving them to collect dust in the back of the shop, they quickly (and easily) posted them on WrenchWay. Within an hour, Jefferson High School, a school the shop had never spoken with before, responded.

“It was super easy to post on WrenchWay. I posted the airbags and within no more than an hour, I got an email notification telling me that I’d gotten a response to my post.”

Michael Hoerstmann, Service Manager, Metro Ford of Madison

Jefferson High School Grows Curriculum Through Donation

While searching on WrenchWay School Connect for available resources from shops, EJ Pularski of Jefferson High School came across the airbag post from Metro Ford of Madison. With limited funds and a need for this item to conduct proper in-class demonstrations, EJ quickly messaged the shop through WrenchWay.

“When shops can provide equipment like airbags, that’s something now that I can use to expand lessons and not have to spend any money on it. I have some wire, car batteries, and stuff around the shop that I can use to make an airbag deploy, but what I can’t afford is a whole airbag.”

EJ Pilarski, Automotive Instructor, Jefferson High School

Instructor Encourages More Shops to Donate to Local Schools

In the automotive industry, technology is changing every day. Due to a combination of product recalls and the creation of new equipment versions, shops often end up with unusable materials in stock. Although these materials are of no use to a shop or dealership, they can be highly beneficial to a local school’s auto, diesel, and CTE programs that are grossly underfunded.

“I’ve worked in a GM Dealership and I’ve worked in a private shop. I know shops have stuff sitting in the back. In fact, at the GM Dealership, there was a 5. 3 crate engine just sitting in the back of the parts department, covered in dust. It had been there for a few years by the time I got there. So if these shops have stuff sitting around, donate it to a school.”

EJ Pilarski, Automotive Instructor, Jefferson High School

Connect with Schools & Shops on WrenchWay

For shops that are interested, with 400+ new posts from schools last month alone, now is the perfect time to join WrenchWay. Schools are looking for assistance with equipment and supplies donations, shop tours, advisory committee members, internships, and more.

Shops: Learn More & Sign Up

If your high school or post-secondary auto/diesel/CTE program is looking for support from shops and dealerships, you can join WrenchWay for free. Create a profile for your school, post requests and updates, and start connecting with local shops today!

Schools: Learn More & Sign Up