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Dylan LeCompte wants to be a diesel mechanic...
A 19-year-old senior at Franklin County High School (FCHS) and the Franklin County Career & Technical Center (FCCTC), Dylan is already getting real world experience, thanks to an innovative arrangement with the Franklin County Schools: He has just started working as a co-op student in the district’s Transportation Department, working under the direct supervision of the district’s certified bus mechanics to do routine tasks on school buses and other district vehicles. This includes such tasks as repairing torn bus seats, checking fluid levels, changing oil, checking and changing light bulbs, inflating tires and otherwise helping the district’s bus mechanics do their jobs.

Dylan is described by educators as an outstanding student, a hard-working, goal oriented young man who has already enlisted in the United States Army and is scheduled to leave for Basic Training July 3, 2018. According to FCCTC Principal James Hardin, Dylan is the only student in the history of the FCCTC to earn all non-student Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications. ASE certification is the national standard by which mechanics are measured. Dylan’s certification means he has successfully completed all the courses required for certification.

Brad McKinney, FCS’ Director of Pupil Transportation, explained how the arrangement came about: “Our mechanics work on nearly 100 buses and other vehicles, so we were trying to find a cost-effective way to get some extra help in the bus garage.

“Since we’re in the business of teaching, someone mentioned the possibility of hiring a student so they could get work experience while we met our need for additional help. We checked with human resources and the Kentucky Department of Education and realized we could do this. We then approached Supt. Kopp and Mr. Raleigh, our assistant superintendent, and they were all in. So we created the position, then opened it up for interviews. Dylan’s interview made it clear he was qualified, capable and committed, so we offered him the job.”

Since Dylan is still in school, he works at the bus garage part-time, reporting at 1 p.m. each day and working until approximately 5 p.m. For safety reasons, he is limited to certain non-critical tasks, and everything he does is supervised, checked and inspected by a certified mechanic. For example, a visitor recently observed as Dylan - under the watchful eye and instruction of a senior mechanic - repaired a torn bus seat. He also helped another mechanic replace the brakes on a bus, getting tools for the mechanic and helping lift parts into place for the mechanic to install them.

“I love it here,” said Dylan with a broad smile. “To be able to do what I love and get paid for it is out of this world.”

Franklin County High School’s co-op program allows some high school seniors to work during a portion of the school day giving them real-world work experience while earning school credit toward graduation. In many cases, students get paid for their work.