Eyewitness News features pair from Auto Tech program

Auto Tech students take honors, spotlight at GNYADA tourney

 SWBOCES Automotive Technology students Jeffrey Hernandez & Gurleen Singh took home trophies and scholarship awards in a regional competition this week testing their skills at diagnostics and repair.

Those are the skills the two friends hone daily at the SWBOCES’ Center for Career Services in Valhalla, under the guidance and direction of teachers Mike Ward and Peter Schwartzott. 

The competition, sponsored by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, intends to encourage students to pursue careers in the automotive field. Jeffrey and Gurleen are already well on their way in that regard, following in the footsteps of their fathers.

“I used to run and get him tools, and then it turned into me helping him and now him getting me tools,” Jeffrey told Eyewitness News’s NJ Burkett.

“Me and my dad used to work on our cars together all the time,” Gurleen added, “and that just sparked my interest.”

Burkett’s report on ABC-7 cast a welcome spotlight on the first-round competition that pitted 20 teams of high school seniors against one another Jan. 9.

The news report cites a national shortage of automotive technicians—they’re not called mechanics anymore because cars are more complex and technology-based than ever.

“Technology has changed, so you’re not just turning a wrench,” Mark Schienberg of GNYAD tells Burkett. “There’s more computer technology in these cars than there are on rocket ships that landed on the moon.

That calls for a new generation of technicians with more sophisticated skills than ever. It calls for technicians like Jeffrey and Gurleen.

“I definitely want to get a job in a dealership and possibly open up my own shop,” Jeffery said, turning to Gurleen, “possibly with my best friend over here.”

Watch: NYC high school hosts automotive repair competition for students