The Rolling Meadows High School automotive program has received recognition on a national level, becoming the 18th high school in the state to achieve the certification.
The National Automotive Technician's Education Foundation accreditation ensures that the program meets the highest level of excellence, according to Joel Dufkis, an automotive technology instructor.
"It's pretty prestigious," said Dufkis, about the result of the two-day on-site inspection to evaluate tools used, equipment purchases and other program aspects. "They want the students to be prepared to enter the workforce as a technician."
Students can take four years of automotive classes and those who do receive six months of job experience toward their Automotive Service Excellence certification, which helps in their job search, according to a press release. Last year, the program enrolled about 110.
"Some kids take them just to learn more about automobiles and how they work," Dufkis said, while others are interested in a career in the automotive industry.
"It was a great opportunity," said David Wietrzak, head of career and technology education and physical education, about the NATEF certification, adding that keeping up with constantly changing technology is a given in the industry.
The high school works with community colleges and trade schools to offer college credit to students who receive NATEF certification and want to earn a college degree.
The accreditation was a six-month process, which involved submitting an application and a self-evaluation performed by administrators, program instructors and advisory committee members.
Dufkis said the advisory committee helps steer the automotive program in the right direction and he particularly encourages parents to join the group.
"We're welcoming any community members who would like to join," Dufkis said.