James Reese Career and Technical Center students will have the opportunity to receive hands-on vehicle maintenance experience through a new pilot program.

Sugar Land City Council authorized an interlocal agreement with Fort Bend ISD on Oct. 4 to establish a pilot program for preventive maintenance services at the CTE for Sugar Land's nonemergency vehicles. The program is the first of its kind for the city.

“It is a mutually beneficial partnership where we are engaging a career and technical center to be able to create a pipeline for them, because we do understand that there is a gap sometimes in certain skill sets like electrical and HVAC and automotive,” said Reena Varghese, Sugar Land’s chief innovation officer. “We want to be able to make that connection.”

At the CTE, students in the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics course pathway learn in a fully equipped and functioning automotive facility, according to agenda documents. These students will conduct preventive maintenance on the city’s nonemergency, light-duty trucks and vehicles, primarily Ford F-150s.

They will provide basic services such as state inspections, oil changes and changing windshield wipers. The city will collaborate with the center manager to schedule times for employees to drop off their vehicles at the CTE.

Sugar Land’s Fleet Services division currently performs these services in-house, so partnering with FBISD on this program will benefit both parties.

“For the fleet staff, this will free up opportunities for us to prioritize critical items,” Fleet Services Manager Shahid Ali said.

Sugar Land will provide the parts and fluids for the service of its vehicles. Funding for the program will be through each respective department’s existing repair and maintenance account, Ali said. The agreement is for one year with the ability to renew.

The program is expected to get underway as early as November, following the transfer of parts and inventory from the city’s fleet team to the CTE.

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