Automotive Technology Program Receives $50,000 Donation for Student Scholarships from Tuttle-Click

Saddleback College’s automotive technology program was awarded $50,000 for student scholarships thanks to a generous donation from Tuttle-Click Automotive Group. The Tuttle-Click Automotive Technology Scholarship,  a partnership through which students get on-the-job training at a local Tuttle-Click dealership while earning four certifications and their associate degree in automotive technology, awards students $750 per semester, a Matco starter tool set valued at $4,500, and job placement upon completion. This is the second year Saddleback has received the donation; the first was awarded in 2008 and 10 students have participated in the program.

(L-R) Math, Science and Engineering Dean Christopher McDonald, Foundation Board President Jim Leach, Service Director at Tustin Tuttle-Click Dale Sponseller, Automotive Technology Department Chair Clifford Meyer, Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science Dean Don Taylor

“This partnership with Tuttle-Click is an excellent example of how everyone benefits when the college and industry work together to train students for successful careers,” stated Dr. Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College. “The scholarships provide students the support to complete their education, and the jobs at Tuttle-Click get their careers started immediately following their graduation. It’s an ideal situation for our students.”

Dale Sponseller, service director at Tustin Tuttle-Click Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge, stated, “Saddleback College’s automotive technology instructors have the same high standards for  their students that we do for our employees, so this partnership has been extremely beneficial to Tuttle-Click and Saddleback. Students who complete the program continue to move up the ranks at Tuttle-Click dealerships throughout the area.”

“Our outstanding automotive technology instructors work tirelessly to help our students exceed their academic and professional goals,” stated Don Taylor Saddleback College Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science dean. “This partnership provides students with a career goal that is not only viable but also profitable.”

“This is the perfect program for students who are interested in cars but who also want to start their careers quickly,” stated Clifford Meyer, automotive technology department chair. “I am extremely proud of the students who have completed the program and am happy to continue the partnership with Tuttle-Click.”

Most graduates of the program continue to work for Tuttle-Click and many are now senior technicians. When students complete the two-year program, they will have earned an associate degree and be certified in automotive chassis, automotive engine service, automotive engine performance, and general automotive. Students who are interested in the program must first apply as an entry-level technician or apprentice technician at a local Tuttle-Click dealership and then fill out a separate application for the scholarship. Prospective students who would like more information on the program may contact Clifford Meyer at cmeyer@saddleback.edu.

Economic and Workforce Development Roundtables

Last week, I was pleased to host the second President’s Roundtable for Economic and Workforce Development on the stage of the McKinney Theatre.  Nearly 50 business and community leaders met with college leaders to discuss how to better prepare students to embark upon successful careers.

Community colleges have been linked for many years with economic and workforce development.  We learned from our first roundtable that there are jobs available, but employees are lacking skills in communication, basic math and English, and are not committed to their jobs.  The primary recommendation was that Saddleback College needs to develop and expand its internship program to give students the experience they need to be more successful in the workplace.

Studies have shown that interns are 70 percent more likely to be hired as full-time employees, get a job quicker and have more job offers than those who do not have an internship.  Interns receive 25 percent higher starting salaries than non-interns and average 2.5 months to secure a job, versus 6.3 months for non-interns.

During the  session, Susan Forte O’Neill, President of Forte Designs, facilitated an exciting discussion on ways to build and fund an internship program using a business model.  Jim Leach, CEO of the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce, addressed the roundtable and discussed his group’s partnership with the college to conduct a business retention survey. The chamber is currently providing scholarships for Saddleback College student interns to work on the project.

Saddleback College currently provides internship opportunities through the Cooperative Work Experience program, which combines classroom education with planned, supervised work experience and allows the student to earn college credit for work experience.  For more information about the Saddleback College internship program, please contact Eric Hilden, Career Placement Officer, at ehilden@saddleback.edu or consult the college website at www.saddleback.edu/cwe.

Saddleback Interior Design Team Raises $30,000 for HomeAid Orange County

The Saddleback College Interior Design Team participated in HomeAid Orange County’s signature fundraiser Project Playhouse, which raises money to help the county’s homeless population. The team designed a playhouse, titled Over The Rainbow Cottage, which was displayed at the Irvine Spectrum and then auctioned off. Over The Rainbow Cottage not only raised $30,000, it was also received the People’s Choice award!

Congratulations to the team of design students who created this fantastic playhouse: team leader Barbara Schierhold, Susan Koubas, Keith Stanley, Carolyn Hall, Kaitlin Galati, and Joni Owen.

President Presents Annual State of the College and Highlights Automotive Technology Program

Saddleback College President Dr. Burnett presented the Annual State of the College at a campus community breakfast held on Friday, September 23rd attended by several dozen elected officials, business and industry representatives, and other community leaders. This year’s report was titled “Being the First Choice” and focused on the college’s vision for being the first choice of students seeking a dynamic, innovative, and student-centered postsecondary education.

In his presentation, Dr. Burnett stated, “Student success is a top priority for our state and nation, and that is what Saddleback is all about. To be the first choice of students, we not only must continue our large number of degree, certificate, and transfer completions each year, but we must significantly expand these numbers in order to meet projected workforce demands. I am confident that with our quality faculty and exceptional programs we can meet this challenge.”

The breakfast also featured a presentation from Professor Cliff Meyer on the college’s renowned Automotive Technology program that is designed to prepare students for employment as automotive technicians. Students can complete their Associate of Science or Associate of Arts degree and transfer to a four-year college or university. Students can also earn certificates in Automotive Chassis Specialist, Automotive Engine Service Specialist, Automotive Engine performance Specialist, General Automotive Technician, and, soon, Alternative Propulsion. About 425 students are enrolled in the Automotive Technology program each semester and the program has been very successful in helping students find well-paying careers.

The president’s Annual State of the College provides an overview of the past academic year and a preview of the coming year’s opportunities and challenges for Saddleback College.  A full copy of the report can be found on the college website or click here to download a PDF of the full report.

Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour Comes to Saddleback

About 250 students attended the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour (EET) on Monday, September 12 to learn about ways to launch their own businesses. The EET is a half-day conference that brings top young entrepreneurs to colleges, universities, workforce development organizations, and chambers of commerce, to encourage entrepreneurial spirit. Attendees are given the chance to hear from keynote speakers, participate in workshops, and network with fellow attendees and entrepreneurs.

Business Professor, Rebecca Knapp was the driving force behind getting the tour to Saddleback College and the effort paid of with a large, excited group of future business leaders!

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Knapp

Photo Courtesy of Rebecca Knapp

Saddleback Now a Member of the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium

Clifford Meyer and Raj Dhillon

Saddleback College is the most recent member of the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC), a nonprofit dedicated to providing a training resource network focused on employment in the transit industry. The consortium is made up of 31 transportation agencies, community colleges, and universities.

Clifford G. Meyer, Department Chair of the Automotive Technology Program, vigorously pursued this partnership with the organization, which provides training for instructors as well as a gateway for students to find jobs in the industry.

The Automotive Technology Program provides students the opportunity to earn certificates in four specialties: Automotive Chassis Specialist, Automotive Engine Service Specialist, Automotive Engine Performance Specialist, and General Automotive Technician. Instructors will now be able to work with industry partners to keep these programs up-to-date and to keep adding new programs, as the demand for transit workers increases.

For more information on SC’s Automotive Technology programs, visit www.saddleback.edu/atas/automotive_technology. For further information about the SCRTTC, visit www.scrttc.com.