WCCC on the cutting edge of of auto tech training

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry The Warren County Career Center’s auto technology shop has a dynamometer. Thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and matching funds from Warren County School District, the power equipment shop will be getting a smaller one soon.

Warren County Career Center will be making its operation a little more effective thanks to a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The $19,000 competitive grant will be matched by $19,000 from the district and bring a dynamometer to the WCCC power equipment small engine shop.

When a student wants to test the engine of a vehicle brought to that shop — say a dirt bike or snowmobile — Warren County School District is not signing off on that student taking that equipment for a ride.

The alternative is a dynamometer.

“For the kids to test the machines effectively, this is the safest way we can do it,” Principal Jim Evers said. “By having the dynamometer, they can put it on the machine… and they can do it very safely.”

The career center pushed hard for the grant, Evers said, citing that safety component.

The equipment will fit various vehicles serviced in the power equipment shop — from dirt bikes to side-by-sides, according to Instructor Michael Smith.

In the era of electronic fuel injection, a dynamometer is a pretty basic tool of the trade. The students will run into them if they stay in the business. “All the tech schools, they all use dynos,” Smith said. “Any race team… they dino everything. In the real world, this is the stuff they’re going to see.”

“If they rebuild an engine, they only way to test it is to run it,” he said.

The Career and Technical Center Equipment Grant program is an investment in job training, according to a release from Gov. Tom Wolf’s office that announced the awarding of $1.2 million in grants to 38 career and technical centers.

“To prepare students for the 21st century jobs that are driving the Pennsylvania economy, schools need to offer students hands-on training on equipment that is consistent with industry standards,” Education Secretary Pedro Rivera said. “These grants… help institutions around the state train their students for the jobs that exist in their local community.”

According to PDE, “the maximum grant allowed under the program is $50,000 and each grant must be matched dollar-for-dollar from a local source.”

The new dynamometer will be the second for the career center. The auto tech program already has a dynamometer.