Headlights to Taillights: Winter is coming, is your vehicle ready?

By Mark Kozemko, Johnson College’s Automotive Technology Program Director

Original published in the October 23, 2020 edition of the Valley Advantage.

https://www.thevalleyadvantage.com/community-columns/headlights-to-taillights-winter-is-coming-is-your-vehicle-ready/article_db15e1b5-d8ef-5d52-b635-c219b11105a6.html

You know winter is fast approaching when leaves start hitting the ground and temperatures drop, like they are now.

Most households have a winterization processes in place. They can include rearranging the closet, so winter clothes are out front, removing air conditioners from windows and preparing the furnace for winter operation.

While you’re working on winterizing your home, you also need to have a plan for your vehicles. This brings us to a few questions I received about how to winterize a vehicle to ensure it runs smoothly through the coldest months of the year.

The first question is, “What steps in the winterization process are priorities and which aren’t?”

All the steps below in your vehicle winterization process are priorities, but they don’t have to be completed in the specific order they’re listed.

Priority No. 1 is your battery. There’s nothing worse than getting in your cold vehicle, turning the key and hearing a clicking noise — or maybe nothing at all.

A battery will not always give you a warning before it fails. They can fail at any time, but cold weather really affects a weak battery. Have your battery tested to determine the current condition, so you know if your battery needs to be replaced so you don’t experience that no-start moment.

Priority No. 2 is the depth of your tires’ treads. There needs to be enough tread to keep the tire safe through the season. The more tread, the better. If you’re someone who uses winter tires, now is the time to swap out the summer tires for winter ones. Remember, if you install studded winter tires, they cannot be installed on your vehicle until Nov. 1, and must be removed by April 15.

With all or most vehicles being equipped with tire pressure monitor systems, it is very important to check and adjust the tire pressure. In cold weather, tire pressure is lower than it would be in warmer weather. This lower pressure, if not corrected, may trigger the tire pressure warning light to illuminate on your dashboard. If it does, check your pressure immediately and add air where needed.

Something very few people think of is the spare tire. If your vehicle comes with a spare, make sure it’s inflated to the proper air pressure.

Priority No. 3 is a coolant freeze protection check. During the check, a sample of your vehicle’s coolant is tested for the concentration of ethylene-glycol in the coolant mixture. This means the percentage of water compared to the percentage of anti-freeze in the mixture. An acceptable mixture for our northeast region is 50/50. This mixture gives the coolant a freeze protection of approximately -34⁰F. If your coolant isn’t protected correctly, it can ice up and cause catastrophic damage to your engine.

Priority No. 4 is checking and monitoring your vehicle’s other fluids through the winter months. The windshield washer reservoir should be filled with a solvent specially made with a lower freeze point than plain water, much like coolant.

Priority No. 5 is the condition of your wiper blades. If your blades aren’t in good condition, they will not be able to properly clear ice and snow from your windshield. As you know, if your windshield isn’t cleared, your vision will be obstructed and the possibility of an accident increases.

Priority No. 6 is preparing a small survival kit to put in your trunk just in case you break down. This kit should include items such as gloves, socks, a blanket or another winter coat, and anything else you might need while you wait for assistance to arrive. No matter when you use your car, always make sure your cell phone is fully charged or close to it. You don’t want to break down in the dead of winter with a cell phone that doesn’t work.

“What steps in the winterization process can be done by an owner and which ones must be completed by a technician?” is our second question.

The battery and coolant freeze point checks should be performed by a qualified technician. The other checks and inspections in our winterization process above can also be completed by a technician, but you can easily do them over a weekend. Equipment, tools and, of course, replacement parts needed for your vehicle winterization project are more than likely available at your local parts store.

However you decide to winterize your vehicle, make sure you do it. This process will help you avoid any major automotive issues during the long, cold winter months.

The next Headlights to Taillights column will be published in the November 27, 2020 edition of the Valley Advantage. 

College to Host Virtual and In-Person Fall Open House Events

Johnson College will hold a virtual Fall Open House on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 at 6 p.m. via Zoom and an in-person Fall Open House on its campus in Scranton on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register for both or one of the Open House events visit Johnson.edu/openhouse. You can also contact Johnson College’s Enrollment Department at 570-702-8856 or enroll@johnson.edu.

Both Open House events will include discussions about the admissions process, and financial aid for those who qualify. Plus, we’ll talk about student services such student life, student support, and career services.

During the in-person Open House, same day acceptance will be available, if students bring their high school or college transcripts. Tours of each technical area will be conducted and department chairs will be available to review the specifics of their programs. Social distancing and sanitization guidelines will be followed and face coverings must be worn at all times while on campus. Attendees will receive a limited edition Johnson College face covering.

Johnson College provides real-world, hands-on learning in a caring environment and prepares graduates to enter into or advance in their careers. Our degrees become essential careers. Johnson College was founded in 1912, and is the region’s premier technical college, offering associate degrees in 15 programs. An emphasis on hands-on instruction is supported by a low student-to-teacher ratio. Located in Scranton on a 44-acre campus, Johnson is an accredited, private, non-profit, co-educational institution with a strong tradition of working with regional business and industry to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce. For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu.

Continuing Education Offers Specialized Soldering Training Course

Johnson College has added an IPC J-STD-001 Soldering Training and Certification Course to its Continuing Education Program. This specialized course introduces the materials, methods, and acceptance criteria for producing high-quality soldered electrical connections. The inaugural course will be held during the late afternoons or evenings starting Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 through Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. The total cost of the course is $750. To learn more or to enroll, visit https://johnson.edu/continuing-education/j-standard-training/ or contact the Johnson College Continuing Education Department at 570-702-8979 or continuinged@johnson.edu.

This 16-hour course can be utilized by workers in industries such aerospace, bio-medical, computer technology, and electronics to name a few, who are interested in expanding their careers while helping their companies grow.

The course will focus on modules 1 and 2 of the IPC J-STD-001.  Module 1 includes:  General requirements: applicable documents; materials, components, and equipment requirements; general soldering and assembly requirements; cleaning; printed circuit board requirements; coating, encapsulation, and staking; anti-tampering; and rework and repair.  In module 2, students will learn how to make wire and terminal connections; demonstrate wire stripping, wire tinning, and gold removal; and assemble turret, bifurcated, pierced, hooked, and hollow cup terminals to the highest performance standards. Upon successful completion, students will receive an IPC Certification in J-STD-001 soldering.

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program distinguishes itself from the College’s 2-year degree programs and certificate courses by providing its adult students the opportunity to improve their skills to stay ahead of the competition, learn new technologies, and advance in their current career. The Continuing Education courses, many taught by industry professionals, are utilized and recognized by industry partners because they’re developed in partnership with industry. The program also includes pre-employment skills testing and exclusive online courses offering certification classes for essential industries. Johnson College also assists individual students and industry partners in obtaining funding or grants so their continuing education courses are cost effective. We train the workforce of northeastern Pennsylvania by immersing our continuing education, degree and certificate earning students in industry from day one. We Work, so our students succeed.

Cody Fisher Receives Work Ethic Scholarship from the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation

Cody Fisher from Mountain Top, Pennsylvania received a 2020 Work Ethic Scholarship from the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation. The $5,500 scholarship gives Cody the opportunity to focus on his hands-on education in the Carpentry & Cabinetmaking Technology Program.

Cody is a Crestwood High School graduate. He found out about the Work Ethic Scholarship after receiving a link to the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation website. Cody knew he had to apply after he read the Foundation’s belief that skilled labor is the back bone of this country and how working hard and having passion in what you do are keys to successful careers.

“I was thrilled when I received the scholarship” said Cody. “It allows me to fully concentrate on my education at Johnson College so I can get out into the workforce sooner without having to worry as much about my college loans.” Cody continued, “Once I visited the Johnson College campus, met the faculty, and leaned about all the courses and hands-on labs, I knew it’s where I wanted to learn my trade. Plus, I’d be going to one of the top trade schools in the nation.”

“During Cody’s journey toward the 2020 Work Ethic Scholarship he displayed Guts, Grit, and Glory, values we share and hold dear at Johnson College,” said Dr. Katie Leonard, president and CEO of Johnson College. “When the opportunity presented itself, he rose to meet it; when there were challenges, he persevered; in the end, his hard work was rewarded by the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation.”

The Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation’s Work Ethic Scholarship Program recognizes people who understand the importance of personal responsibility, delayed gratification, a positive attitude, and, of course, work ethic. The hardworking men and women who keep the lights on, water running, and air flowing—the next generation of skilled workers who will work smart and hard. These are the folks they consider rock stars, and we want to reward them. Learn more about the Mike Rowe Works Foundation at https://www.mikeroweworks.org/.

Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast – Episode 5 Now Available

Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast Episode 5, Growing Opportunities for the HVAC Trade” is now available. In this episode Dr. Katie Leonard talks with Steve Midura, Northeast Pennsylvania Market Director at Johnson Controls in Wilkes-Barre. They discuss the effects that COVID-19 has had on the industry and safety regulations in place, as well as the demand across the nation for skilled technicians in this field and how technology is growing the capability of HVAC systems.

Visit https://johnsoncollegepodcast.com/ to listen to all of the Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast episodes and learn more.

Our guest, Steve Midura, enjoys the extreme privilege of leadership with a dedicated team of professionals that serve the broader Northeast Pennsylvania HVAC & Automation market. Some key clients are Geisinger, the Mohegan Sun Casino and the Lackawanna County Stadium. Steve ensures that all customers are sold the value they need and that the operations efforts are fully executed to exceed expectations. The true value his team offers is local, dedicated staff that live here and take great pride in remaining the NEPA market leader.

Prior to Steve being named the Northeast Pennsylvania Market Director of Johnson Controls in 2004, he was Project Team Leader from 1997 to 2004. Before joining Johnson Controls, Steve was Assistant Director of Facilities at Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton, PA.

Steve is a current member of Johnson College’s Board of Directors. He brings his knowledge & experience to help the college grow the student experience & ultimate capability. Steve’s focus will also be on gaining the maximum amount of exposure to women & diverse candidates. The technically skilled workforce demands the best & most passionate professionals and these careers should offer everyone a fulfilling lifetime of opportunity.

2020-2021 Enrollment Largest in the College’s History

Johnson College’s 2020-21 total enrollment, 497, is the largest enrollment number in its 108-year history. The College increased its enrollment by 5% from last year, which was also a record-setting year, with over 252 incoming freshmen and 228 students returning for their second consecutive year. In addition, 17 high school students from Abington Heights, Forest City, Honesdale, Lakeland, Old Forge, and Riverside are enrolled in Johnson College’s Dual Enrollment and Industry Fast Track programs held on campus.

This year, 27% of the incoming freshman class transferred in from another institution making Johnson College a destination for students.. Also, the College launched and welcomed its first class into its Associate Degree program for Heavy Equipment Technology.

“As our record enrollment shows, incoming freshman found what they were looking for in the flexibility of our online classes and the opportunities provided by our hands-on labs,” said Bill Burke, Johnson College’s Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. “The hybrid model we’re offering, along with smaller class sizes, labs at industry partner locations and the potential to complete their education in 2 years or less, give our students the opportunity to be well prepared to enter the essential workforce sooner.”

Johnson College will continue to follow its hybrid model throughout the 2020-21 school year. General education and program theory classes will be delivered online while labs and lab-related coursework will be in-person. Through this model, the College is prioritizing student safety while offering increased flexibility when it comes to the hands-on learning required to enter the workforce. Social distancing and mask guidelines will be followed on campus and at industry lab locations.

Johnson College provides real-world, hands-on learning in a caring environment and prepares graduates to enter into or advance in their careers. Our degrees become essential careers. Johnson College was founded in 1912, and is the region’s premier technical college, offering associate degrees in 15 programs. An emphasis on hands-on instruction is supported by a low student-to-teacher ratio. Located in Scranton on a 44-acre campus, Johnson is an accredited, private, non-profit, co-educational institution with a strong tradition of working with regional business and industry to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce. For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu.

Johnson College in Conjunction with Don’s Machine Shop brings CNC training to Luzerne County

Johnson College in conjunction with Don’s Machine Shop in West Pittston continues to bring Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining training to Luzerne County. Starting December 14, 2020 students will train to utilize, maintain and program Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines inside Don’s Machine Shop’s classroom and lab at 100 Elm Street, West Pittston. Open enrollment for this 510 Hour CNC class is going on now. Space is limited. To learn more visit https://johnson.edu/continuing-education/510-computer-numerical-control-cnc-at-dons-machine-shop/.

CNC machinists manufacture precision products and components used in a variety of applications such as automotive, medical, electronics, aerospace, transportation, military, and more. Industries throughout northeastern Pennsylvania are currently in need of well-trained CNC machinist.

This 510 hour class for beginner-level students includes theory and hands-on learning experiences. The hands-on training, delivered at Don’s Machine Shop, is on some of the most state of the art equipment in the region. This unique, one-of-a-kind training will help open up new career opportunities right away. This relationship truly demonstrates how industry is a Johnson College student’s campus. Social distancing and mask guidelines will be followed at all times. The cost of the class is $7,500. Financial assistance may be available for those who qualify.

Since starting over 30 years ago Don’s Machine Shop, Inc. has grown to be one of the largest machine shops in Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley. Their 77,000 square foot climate controlled facility contains millions of dollars’ worth of modern equipment that are continually upgraded. Don’s Machine Shop, Inc. employs 30 people and makes machine parts for companies around the globe. Many things have changed since this business started over 30 years ago, but their commitment to providing quality parts and service will never change. For more information visit http://www.donsmachine.com/.

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program distinguishes itself from the College’s 2-year degree programs and certificate courses by providing its adult students the opportunity to improve their skills to stay ahead of the competition, learn new technologies, and advance in their current career. The Continuing Education courses, many taught by industry professionals, are utilized and recognized by industry partners because they’re developed in partnership with industry. Johnson College strategizes with and listens to its partners when creating the most effective hands-on continuing education curriculum and programs. Some courses are specifically customized toward industry partners’ workforce needs in reducing possible skills gaps and industry requirements. The program also includes pre-employment skills testing and exclusive online courses offering certification classes for essential industries. Johnson College also assists individual students and industry partners in obtaining funding or grants so their continuing education courses are cost effective. Students continuing in their current jobs, obtain hands-on advanced training, new certifications and unique skills to expand their careers while helping their companies grow. Students entering a new career have an opportunity, through newly acquired core skills, to excel in training and job placement when hired in the industry they’re passionate about. Johnson College trains the workforce of northeastern Pennsylvania by immersing our continuing education, degree and certificate earning students in industry from day one. Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program carries on the College’s long history of producing the most highly skilled technicians and technologists by providing flexible, real world hands-on learning and a direct link to industry. Individuals explore new careers while industry partners strengthen their current workforce. We Work, so the students succeed. For additional information on Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program, please call 570-702-8979, email continuinged@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu/continuing-education.

Photo Caption:

Logan Keating (left) and David Cikota (right) train to utilize, maintain and program Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines at Don’s Machine Shop in West Pittston during Johnson College’s 510-Hour CNC Machining training class. Open enrollment for the next 510-Hour CNC Machining class at Don’s Machine Shop is going on now. The next class starts December 14, 2020 and space is limited. To learn more and enroll, contact the Johnson College Continuing Education Department at 570-702-8979 or continuinged@johnson.edu.  

From Headlights to Taillights: Getting an Annual Checkup

By Mark Kozemko, Johnson College’s Automotive Technology Program Director

Original published in the September 25, 2020 edition of the Valley Advantage.

https://www.thevalleyadvantage.com/community-columns/from-headlights-to-taillights-getting-an-annual-checkup/article_9a8ee3f1-cf89-549d-9f31-e3ceffde60ad.html

As we’ve discussed in previous columns, your vehicles rely on repair shops and technicians to keep them operating and safe, the same way you rely on hospitals and doctors to keep you safe and healthy.

Normally, your health care provider suggests you visit your doctor once a year for an annual check-up. The same can be said about your vehicle needing yearly inspections by a licensed technician. Except completing vehicle inspections annually aren’t recommendations like a medical check-up, it’s the law in Pennsylvania.

This brings us to a few questions I received about vehicle inspections.

The first question is, “Why do vehicle inspections have to be done each year?”

The two annual inspections are required to ensure your vehicle conforms to Pennsylvania transportation regulations governing safety and emissions. As you might have guessed, the vehicle safety inspection is designed to keep your vehicle operating safely so you, your passengers and any pedestrians are as safe as possible.

The vehicle emissions inspection is designed to check emission components to make sure they are in place as designed. This inspection protects the environment by restricting the amount of pollutants your vehicle is allowed to produce when in use.

“What do technicians review during the inspections?” is our second question.

During a vehicle safety inspection, a technician will thoroughly inspect components from headlights to taillights and everything in between. Glass is checked for damage or chips. Lights and lenses are checked.

Components under your vehicle, like front and rear suspension parts, exhaust systems, shocks/struts, axles and drive shafts are also checked, as well as frame condition. Wheels and tires are also checked at this time for excessive wear or damage. They will also remove the wheels to check brake components.

Several things inside your vehicle are also inspected. These include windshield wiper/washer operation, dashboard indicator lights, windshield defrosters, seats, seat belts, mirrors and door latches. The body and undercarriage are also checked for rust.

During the vehicle emission inspection, the emission components are inspected to make sure they are installed as designed. In certain counties in Pennsylvania, emission inspections must be performed through a special machine. This machine also checks the fuel filler cap to make sure it holds a specific amount of pressure.

In other counties in Pennsylvania, vehicles have to pass what we call, a full On-Board Diagnostics emission inspection. This inspection includes all the above, plus, a vehicle readiness scan and an exhaust sniff test.

Our third question is, “What causes a vehicle to fail either inspection?”

Overall, your vehicle will fail a safety inspection if any of the components inspected are worn, broken or missing.

For instance, if your steering wheel is loose enough that you don’t know the position of the front wheels, your vehicle will fail because the steering system is compromised. Once a part is worn and has excessive play, it can’t fix itself. It will only get worse and ultimately need to be replaced.

Your vehicle can also fail because friction material on brake pads fall below a thickness of 2/32; broken, cracked or missing rearview mirrors; fuel or brake system fluid leaks; exhaust systems not being secured properly or experiencing leakage; non-working lights; a broken or cracked lens; exterior or floorboard rust and many another reasons.

Your vehicle can also fail the safety inspection if your tires fall below the required tire depth. Keep in mind, tire depth changes based on the type of vehicle you own. Minimum tread depth in Pennsylvania is 2/32, but if you drive a SUV or truck that has a gross weight over 10,000 pounds, the minimum tread depth on the steer tires is 4/32.

Your vehicle will fail an emission inspection if required components are missing or disconnected. In certain Pennsylvania counties, your vehicle must not fail the fuel filler cap test and/or the full OBD inspection.

“What can owners do to reduce the risk of failure?” is our fourth and last question.

You should have confidence in your repair shop and technician. Trust them when they tell you throughout the year that your vehicle needs repairs. The needed repairs may be the difference of your vehicle passing or failing its annual inspections.

You’re required by Pennsylvania law to have a licensed technician inspect your vehicle annually. This shouldn’t be the only time you look over your vehicle. Anything can happen throughout the year and you need to be aware when your vehicle is running well and when it needs to visit its doctor … I mean repair shop.

The next Headlights to Taillights column will be published in the October 23, 2020 edition of the Valley Advantage. 

Johnson College and Kutztown University Sign Dual Admission Transfer Agreement for Information Technology Programs

Johnson College and Kutztown University signed a dual admission transfer agreement Wednesday, Sept. 30, to facilitate the transfer of Johnson College graduates to Kutztown University. Johnson College President and CEO, Dr. Katie Leonard and Johnson College’s Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Kellyn Williams signed the agreement with Kutztown University’s President, Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, and Kutztown University’s Provost, Dr. Anne Zayaitz.

Under this dual admissions agreement, Johnson College students will be guaranteed admission into a Bachelor of Science in information technology degree program with third year (junior) status at Kutztown University. Students must graduate from Johnson College with an Associate in Applied Science in computer information technology with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and satisfy all other Kutztown University transfer requirements.

Full-time students admitted with third year (junior) status to Kutztown University will be able to complete a Bachelor of Science in information technology at Kutztown University within four regular semesters, provided that the student completes the appropriate associate degree program at Johnson College and completes and appropriately sequences their remaining course work at Kutztown University, while maintaining full-time status.

Kutztown University will provide a $500 book award to all Johnson College students who transfer with an associate’s degree, as well as $2,000 – over two years – in housing scholarships, should these students choose to live on campus. Kutztown University will also waive the application fee for students who apply to Kutztown University pursuant to this agreement.

Kutztown University’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology programs were recently accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology. ABET accreditation assures that programs meet standards to produce graduates ready to enter critical technical fields that are leading the way in innovation and emerging technologies and anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public, as well as being well prepared for graduate study.

“We are very excited to come together to sign this dual admission transfer agreement that will give Johnson College’s computer information technology graduates a new pathway to a bachelor’s degree,” Leonard said. “Today is a day of celebration for Johnson College. This agreement is Johnson College’s first agreement with a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education school – we are gaining a strong partner in Kutztown University.”

“Our computer science and information technology program recently received accreditation from ABET, which places it among the best programs in the country,” Hawkinson said. “We are delighted to be signing this agreement wherein the excellent students from Johnson College will be able to participate in a dual enrollment program with our department. This new agreement will allow us to work together to change students’ lives.”

Johnson College provides real-world, hands-on learning in a caring environment and prepares graduates to enter into or advance in their careers. Our degrees become essential careers. Johnson College was founded in 1912, and is the region’s premier technical college, offering associate degrees in 15 programs. An emphasis on hands-on instruction is supported by a low student-to-teacher ratio. Located in Scranton on a 44-acre campus, Johnson is an accredited, private, non-profit, co-educational institution with a strong tradition of working with regional business and industry to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce. For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit johnson.edu.

Comprising four colleges – Business, Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Visual and Performing Arts – Kutztown University of Pennsylvania offers a wide range of outstanding academic programs to prepare individuals for successful careers. Located on 289 acres, the campus is adjacent to the Borough of Kutztown in Berks County, Pennsylvania. As of fall 2020, enrollment at the university includes 7,892 students. For more information visit kutztown.edu or contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 610-683-4060 or admissions@kutztown.edu

Photo Caption: (L to R): Dr. Anne Zayaitz, Kutztown University provost, Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, Kutztown University president, Dr. Katie Leonard, Johnson College president and CEO, and Dr. Kellyn Williams, Johnson College chief academic officer sign a dual admission transfer agreement between Johnson College and Kutztown University to facilitate the transfer of Johnson College graduates to Kutztown University.