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Autotech and FIAT partner

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Autotech and FIAT partner

Cassie Dickman, cdickman@lmcexperience

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“We are now officially in Fiat Chrysler’s system,” said Los Medanos College Automobile Service Technology Instructor Earl Ortiz as he pointed to a decal given to the automotive program here on campus.
LMC has formed a partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC (FCA US) Mopar Career Automotive Program LOCAL (CAP LOCAL), which helps students prepare to become FCA dealership service technicians.
According to a press release, the car producer has collaborated with the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) with the goal of training 1,000 students every year.
“Together with our partner, NC3, we are making great progress in expanding our geographic footprint of training sites by identifying and certifying colleges nationwide that have highly-qualified automotive programs,” said FCA US Director of Dealer Training John Fox in the press release. “Plans are to launch 15 additional educational sites during 2016 and we are well on our way to reaching our goal of enlisting more than 100 certified colleges by 2018.”
Students who graduate from an NC3 certified CAP LOCAL two-year training institution, which can either be a university, community college or technical center, will emerge ready to take on the job of a level 1 technician.
And the LMC automotive program has been certified, giving its students a leg-up when they enter the job market.
“What’s really special about this … is the students will be getting very modern training and absolutely be able to get into a Chrysler dealership ready to go to tech school,” said Ortiz.
He explained students can come to LMC and register on the program’s computers, where they will get a valid tech ID number and access to about 20 classes.
“They can go on the Fiat Chrysler website and take all of their web-based coursework,” said Ortiz. “[Chrysler Fiat] also wants to do an apprenticeship and internship with our students.”
Along with the CAP LOCAL partnership, Ortiz said Fiat Chrysler has given the LMC automotive program all the same equipment an employee would use at the company.
“That’s some serious money,” said Ortiz. “Now we can do everything that a dealership can do.
But this program is not only beneficial for students looking to find a job after graduation because it provides an incentive for Fiat Chrysler as well.
“If they were to try to get somebody off the street and get them to this level of training, it would cost the dealership about $70,000,” said Ortiz, adding that as long as LMC students have a good work ethic and stay true to the proper standards “they are hired.”
He said the dealerships are looking for students who spend a year to one and a half years here at LMC while they take the online coursework, and when they graduate may have the opportunity to eventually make anywhere from $28 to $45 an hour depending on where they are hired and what for.
But this partnership didn’t come easy.
“It was a lot of leg work,” said Ortiz. “I’ve been running with this for the last two years.”
He said, however, Fiat Chrysler wasn’t fully committed to the program until about a year ago and it became a big team effort that involved a lot of people helping out with logistics, such as doing paperwork and getting the program arranged. Ortiz gave special credit to Natalie Hannum, who is the LMC Dean of Career and Technical Education and Social Sciences.
“She has been absolutely wonderful,” he said.
CAP LOCAL gave a presentation at LMC Thursday, Sept. 15 to local car dealerships about the program and how the partnership works for them and students.
Tara Sanders, from LMC workforce development spoke at the presentation along with Ortiz and LMC President Bob Kratochvil, told the room partnerships like this are vital to students success and give hope to their futures.
“Young and returning students need to know there are career options out there.”
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Autotech and FIAT partner