Temple car dealers are getting to know the next generation of mechanics by partnering with Temple High School.

The Temple Independent School District board of trustees recently approved a partnership with Don Ringler Toyota to work with the school’s auto technology program.

The district had a previous partnership with Johnson Brothers Ford, and both agreements will allow students to shadow professionals and learn more up-to-date information about working in the field.

“Any time that we are able to connect with a business it always means better direct workforce training for our students,” Denise Ayers of Temple ISD said. “Experiences that they’re learning in the classroom, they’re putting it to real-life use.”

Ayres is the district’s director of career and technical education. Although the district has had an automotive technology program for several years, adding public-private partnerships is a recent development.

“Over the summer, Johnson Brothers Ford came on board as our first partner with the automotive program, and the promotion of that partnership prompted conversations … with Don Ringler Toyota,” Ayres said. “We determined that because of the number of students we have in the program that we would be able to serve both partners efficiently as well as need them to help train our students to be prepared for the workforce.”

Donnie Ringler, co-owner of Don Ringler Toyota, said that a partnership with the school district helps the private sector. There are not as many trained automotive technicians in the job market as there have been in the past.

“Being able to have a relationship with folks that are getting interested in (auto tech) at an earlier time than maybe we would normally, … it gives them a little bit more information to decide if that’s the field they want to go into, and then also it’s helping us to develop a relationship with them earlier on in their career,” Ringler said.

Ayres said students will get a broader view of what it’s like to work in automotive technology through the program.

“Part of becoming a good automotive technician is really understanding all parts of the business as well, so students will rotate through service, they’ll rotate through potentially sales, and various areas of the technology component itself,” she said. “Any time we can expose our students directly with workforce is just a win-win.”