Mark McKinney got his kids a car this week.
The Delaware Area Career Center automotive technology teacher has worked closely with Honda Marysville for nearly a decade, but with the help of Honda Marysville general manager Jeff Pister, he was finally able to get a 2013 Honda Insight donated for his students to use as they learn about hybrid technologies.
It’s the first hybrid to be donated to the lab at DACC and it finally showed up this week, to the surprise of students.
For McKinney, the timing is right.
“Starting next year, our curriculum makes a big change,” he said. “Next year, our curriculum includes alternative energy including hybrid technology. We wanted to get a jump on that.”
Until Honda Marysville got involved, that wasn’t an option.
“That’s got to be an integral part of our instruction now and it’s hard to do when we don’t have one,” he said.”(Students are) wanting to learn about it.”
Pister said getting a hybrid into the hands of DACC students just made sense. Honda Marysville currently has eight former DACC automotive tech students employed in their facility and Pister wants to see that relationship continue.
“(DACC) is a great funnel program for us,” he said.
He said the better educated in hybrid technology DACC students are, the more likely they are to get quality jobs.
“It’s a big step to be able to learn about it now so I can have some training,” said senior Ray Simpson. “It’s a big leap to finding an alternative power source.”
Simpson said he is most interested in the batteries in the hybrid. If he can understand that technology, he said, he’ll be in a better position for his future.
McKinney said he is far more excited to have the hybrid in the lab than any “niche” sports car.
“We want real cars for our kids to be working with,” he said. “What’s real? What’s practical?”
McKinney said it will be a while before the students begin working with the vehicle – they are still learning the hybrid basics –
but he’s excited to teach them the mechanics and the safety elements of working with the future of cars.
“Good things are happening,” he said.