Gale Banks was one of a few local professionals who helped the Baldwin Park Unified School District put together its Automotive Technology Pathway (ATP) program and garner grants from the California Department of Education’s Proposition 1D. Gale feels strongly that resurrecting public-school technical education is vital to California’s economic future.
Gale is a vested believer that manual arts are more economically important to California’s economic recovery than liberal arts. In his speech at the Baldwin Park High School Automotive Training Center Grand Opening, Banks asked, “Who’s going to manufacture, diagnose, and install durable goods – including automobiles? That’s how you create wealth. Distributing wealth is called payroll.” An avid sci-fi reader and futurist, Banks added, “Servicing the [coming] ‘green’ agenda will require knowledgeable, technical minds – people who are both manually and mentally skilled.” Turning to the Baldwin Park students, he concluded, “You are the future of California.”
The $3 million facility’s gala Grand Opening was held February 22, 2011. The ceremony simultaneously celebrated the state-of-the-art facility while paying tribute to the area’s high-performance heritage – recalling an era when auto-shop was part of the normal high-school curriculum. The Baldwin Park Auto Training Center has a capacity of 90 high-school students per year and offers training toward ASE Certification in engines, engine management controls, electrical systems, charging/starting systems, air conditioning, brake systems, and suspension and steering. The program’s ultimate goal is placing graduates in high-tech automotive jobs that offer superior pay.
In addition, the Baldwin Park Automotive Technical Center will teach adults at night as part of the East San Gabriel Valley Regional Occupational Program (ROP). These fee-based classes will provide adults affordable automotive training.