Passaic County Technical Institute honored Scott Barna, the president of Route 23 Auto Mall, a Ford dealership in Butler, as its Business Partner of the Year.
The award is given annually to a county vocational technical school business partner for outstanding contributions to career and technical education. Business partners play a variety of roles, including serving on county vocational technical school program advisory boards, offering opportunities for students to gain valuable work experience, donating equipment, or serving as mentors and role models for students.
Since Barna was first brought into Passaic County Technical Institute as a guest speaker in 2013, his commitment to the school has grown every year. He has become a vital part of the development of the marketing and business programs as a member of the PCTI Advisory Board. Barna has assisted PCTI’s instructors with the development of curricula and project-based learning in specialized programs, such as marketing, logistics and business management.
The Route 23 Auto Mall job shadowing events served as the foundation for an innovative marketing project-based learning module for business students.
With the assistance of Sharon Murphy of Ford Motor Company, Barna created a contest for the students to solve a real-world problem: “The Future of Automotive Purchasing.” Students were required to research, create and present a thorough business plan on the future of car buying and the use of technology to purchase vehicles.
The contest was a project-based learning experience designed to be a trimester summative assessment for the marketing students. Each member of the winning team was awarded an Apple laptop computer by Barna. He also donated Amazon gift cards to the second-place winning business team.
In addition to working with PCTI’s School of Business, Route 23 Auto Mall provides shadowing experiences for the School of Automotive Technology students.
Barna and staff opened the doors to their facility, showing students through the various departments and explaining the duties and responsibilities of the employees. Students shadowed technicians in the repair facility hearing about their education and experience.
“For students who did not see their future as a mechanic but loved the automotive business, he had representatives from other departments such as parts, finance, and sales speak about their careers,” said Superintendent Diana Lobosco. “This opportunity was very beneficial to our students in guiding them to make informed decisions for future plans.”
Route 23 Auto Mall also has played in integral part as a member of PCTI’s Automotive Advisory Committee. Barna and his staff provided the school with information and input to guide the program, developing curriculum and making purchases to educate our students to meet the needs and standards of the industry.
Route 23 Auto Mall also employed multiple students as entry level technicians through PCTI’s School to Careers Program.