By Rachel Wulff

VACAVILLE (CBS13) — With the pandemic, the need for essential jobs has been greatly accelerated—particularly jobs in the automotive industry. As electric cars become more and more mainstream, the industry is struggling to keep up with these new technologies.

That’s what inspired the creation of this new pre-apprenticeship program, aimed at preparing young students for a wide range of successful careers within the automotive industry.

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Chip Reeves has been teaching teens about cars for twelve years and is currently the automotive tech teacher at Will C. Wood High school in Vacaville.

“Cars have always been my passion and so to be able to give that to the next generation—it’s a dream job. It’s amazing,” he said.

He’s excited that the school district has given the green light for a pre-apprenticeship program with Ron Dupratt Ford geared towards expanding opportunities in the industry.

“We’ve seen the automotive industry continue to grow with electric cars and Tesla in California. The students need the education. They need this industry,” he said.

Students enrolled in automotive courses can apply for the paid internship, “and it’s not just the mechanics. That’s the cool part. It’s office help, it’s people in sales, it’s the body shop, it’s the rental dept. All the areas across the dealership,” Reeves said.

“I’m really psyched about it honestly,” said 17-year-old Senior Caleb McLean.

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Mclean is applying for the internship and believes that it will give him the skills he needs to make a passion into a lucrative career.

“Apparently my Grandma used to do dirt track racing,” Mclean said. He’s always wanted to work with cars, but opportunities like this don’t come too often in high school, he said.

“This would be my first job in the automotive industry. I’m working a fast-food job right now so I’m really looking forward to this job,” he said with a smile.

It’s giving students a little taste of what comes next. As part of the application process, students must go through the same Ford training modules that new hires do at the dealership.

“They really just pick it up and run with it. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next,” said Reeves, who says it puts them on a fast track to success.

“It’s a win-win. It’s a win for the student because they are getting a hands-on education and it’s a win for the business because they are able to go through and pick out great employees,” he said.

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While there may be several additional steps before applying, the information for interested applicants can be found here.