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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Dec 1, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff



by DERRICK LIM exclusively for LA CARâ„¢

Having just arrived in June 2003, the $125,000, 20-foot long Professional Automotive Training Center (PATC) made its most auspicious California appearance to date at the Sacramento International Auto Show ( November 13-16, 2003) at Cal Expo.

Marvin Linville (M-R), flanked by students from ARC (Derrick Lim photo)

Trailered by a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV and touted as the only mobile state of the art auto lab of its kind in the state, the PATC is an outreach and recruiting tool aimed at area high school students. The brightly wrapped attention getting mobile trailer with sponsorship logos and matching truck is replete with the latest working models of advanced automotive systems - e.g., engine performance, brakes, air conditioning, electrical, electronics.

Each unit is designed to teach students how the system works properly, and then test their knowledge and understanding with system failure scenarios. The ultimate goal of this interactive we want you recruiting approach is to get high school students excited about pursuing an automotive technician career at the community college level.

According to Marvin Linville, Coordinator/Instructor at Sierra College , gone are the days of the backyard auto "mechanic". To work on cars today, auto "technicians" need to be highly skilled and trained, which means knowledge in technology and a 14 grade reading level to understand a service manual that reflects the dramatic changes in the auto industry and repair labor workforce. Baby boomer auto mechanics are either starting to retire, or have no interest in being retrained in newer advanced technology driving cars today.

The Automotive Service Excellence, or ASE Certification, is the standard by which car dealers measure auto technicians. The ASE certification is so coveted says Linville that auto dealers have an attractive salary differential for auto technicians with these certifications. Career oriented automotive technicians have the earning potential of $75,000 per year.

David Alaniz and Tomas Rios are two students enrolled in the automotive technician program at American River College (ARC). Alaniz, 23, is from Monterey , California . He has worked on cars under the hood with his dad ever since he was a kid. He enrolled at ARC because he could not find anything comparable that was automotive related in his area. His goal is to become a Master Technician and teach.

Rios, 31, is a returning student pursuing a career change. Having worked at a steel plant in Sacramento for 10 years, Rios yearns to fulfill his dream of launching his own auto repair business, "Auto Angels, We Fly to You." Rios got the car bug when he was 16 years old. He still works on cars today, but realizes the importance of completing his Associate of Arts degree and becoming a Master Technician as well.

In addition to general automotive technician instruction offered at all three campuses, ARC offers specialized Toyota T-10 training, and Consumnes River College offers specialized Ford ASSET training.

The vision for the mobile trailer came from John McCormack, Coordinator/Instructor at American River College . McCormack, [email protected], is not only responsible for conceiving the idea for the mobile trailer, but was also instrumental in developing the proposal, designing the trailer, and successfully pitching the idea for funding to other Los Rios Community College campuses (Consumnes River and Sierra), and the Central Valley New Car Dealers Association (CVNCDA).

CVNCDA is comprised of 76 new car dealers as far north as Grass Valley , south to Modesto , east to Shingle Springs, and west to Fairfield . The association quickly realized the need to work together and partner with the Los Rios Community College District about three years ago when school funding for automotive education programs declined.

The PATC website,, is another example of the close working relationship with the three community colleges. Auto Technician majors can post their resumes on the website for prospective employers, and CVNCDA dealers can post job openings for students to check out as well. Linville exhorted the demand for ASE certified auto technicians is so high in the central valley area right now, Sierra College posted 35 job openings from CVNCDA car dealers last week.

For the 2003-2004 school year, CVNCDA contributed over $300,000 in scholarships and equipment to three community colleges and eighteen area high schools. The proceeds from the 2003 Sacramento International Auto Show promise to raise the total amount even higher for automotive education at the community college and high school level.

For more information on CVNCDA, contact Castle Communications at (916) 635-2728.

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