The American Watch Institute, Harrison, Ohio, is seeking to affiliate its two-year watchmaking training program with a local college. The program has been suspended since September 1999.
AWI is the world’s largest professional horological organization, with members in the United States and Canada, and provides extensive educational and technical services to its members. Its academy is also one of the few schools in North America authorized to teach the intensive 3,000-hour (two-year) curriculum of the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program (Wostep), the universally-recognized standard for teaching service and repair of mechanical and quartz (electronic) watches.
However, because of the expenses in running a matchmaking program, we would have to charge $10,000 a year in tuition to break and no one is going to pay that,” says James Lubic, executive director of AWI. “So, we’re trying to do what most other schools [with watchmaking programs] have done. They have affiliated with or are part of state [educational] institutions.”
To do so would also enable AWI to get back state education money for its program.
Currently, AWI is talking with officials of the Cincinnati Technical and State Community College “about adopting our program.” Says Lubic. If they agree, there are still a number of issues to resolve, such as whether AWI’s instructor would be employed by AWI or the college.
“If all goes well, we hope to have the program operating again by Fall 2002,” Lubic told JCK.
AWI’s other education programs, including one-week courses and traveling classes aren’t affected at all by the suspension.