Volkswagen to Donate 31 Atlases to High School Shop Classes

Volkswagen says it’s looking to nip a predicted shortage of mechanics in the bud by donating Atlases and their related diagnostic equipment to high-schools across the country.

The goal is not just to allow students to learn how to wrench, but how to work on modern cars and all of their electronic systems. Something Jon Meredith, VW’s national service operations manager, says we already need more of.

“There is a national shortage of technicians, and it’s expected to grow as many technicians are, or are very close to, retirement age,” says Meredith. “As an industry, we need to come up with different ways of thinking and doing to attract young people to this industry.”

The problem is that as cars become more complex, the systems that allow them to operate smoothly increase in complexity, too. Volkswagen’s ODIS software, which is used to diagnose and update its cars, is too expensive for most schools.

The problem is that the cars in many high school shop classes are out of date. Darin Lewis, an instructor at Medina County Career Center in Ohio says that the Atlas his program is receiving will be the youngest car there by a decade.

“It goes far beyond donating a physical car. With the technology, they are providing their entry-level curriculum,” Lewis says. “To have something that’s the latest and greatest out there – and to be able to show students, ‘This is where the industry is headed’ – is important.”