AWM Auto Tech team earns third straight certification

Program recognized by national testing facility

By Billy Woods West Memphis School District

The Academies of West Memphis Automotive Technology program recently received its third straight National Automotive Testing Educational Facility certification, making it only one of 10 NATEF schools in Arkansas. The honor, which requires requalification every five years, is guided by automotive instructor Orival McClure, who has been teaching at the local high school for 17 years. “When I first came to this (school) district we did not have this certification,” said McClure. “It’s a big honor when you consider most high schools in Arkansas don’t have this status. It took two years for us to attain this honor.” NATEF requires a school’s instructor to have five areas of certification, including engine performance, brakes, steering suspension, electronics and maintenance and light truck repair. McClure said the AWM program must have an advisory board that meets twice a year in order to make sure the program is meeting the national requirements for qualifications. “I’m required to get 20 years of training per year and every five years I have to go back and get recertified,” said McClure. “So it’s a very rigorous set of requirements and that’s what makes this so valuable.” McClure has been nationally recognized as a certified NATEF instructor for 39 years. “In our own city you don’t have too many technicians who are nationally certified,” McClure said. “But the certification is required in order to work on today’s vehicles.” With McClure’s national certification, AWM students graduate from the high school already certified to work as an automotive technician. One of McClure’s former students, AWM 2007 graduate James Mosley, came back to help McClure and his students. “I’m one of Mr. McClure’s students and I love being his assistant and subbing for him when he’s ill,” said Mosley. “This is my second year as his assistant and I can say this program is very helpful to the students at this school. They’re already qualified for a good job once they leave this school and that’s very valuable.”

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