by Christina Fuoco-Karasinski, GSN Staff Writer

Discount Tire is encouraging Gilbert high school students to start their working careers at its stores while they’re still in school.

Tom Stanage, the Scottsdale-based company’s training manager, said that after kids attend its academies they can take advantage of flexible schedules and college reimbursement. Discount Tire sent announcements to area high schools.

“High school students can learn on the job,” said Stanage, who has worked for Discount Tire for nearly 30 years. “You make a lot of good friends. It’s hard work, but once you figure everything out, it’s a lot of fun. They’ll have career opportunities as soon as they get out of school.

“We have the flexibility to work around school. Plus, if they work down here during high school and they go to Flagstaff for college, they can transfer up there.”

This fall, 166 people were hired for Arizona’s 76 stores.

“All you need is a great work ethic,” Stanage said. “As far as how to change a tire, how to balance tires and fix tires, we (teach) that all in-house. You don’t need prior knowledge. If you have a can-do attitude, we’ll take it from there.”

The Valley’s East Valley training academy is at Country Club Drive and Baseline Road in Mesa. Classes are two weeks long.

“Kids . . . who are hired are referring their friends,” Stanage said. “We have a great referral program. There’s no better person who can tell you about a job than a friend.”

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