Already tops in the country, the automotive technician training program at Shoreline Community College (Shoreline) is about to get bigger and better.
On June 8, college, state and industry officials will be on hand as students cut the ribbon for the just-completed $4.2 million expansion of the Professional Automotive Training Center. More than just a capital project at a community college, the expanded center represents a confluence that has considerable economic impact to individuals, companies and the state.
Starting at 2 p.m. in the training center, 16101 Greenwood Ave. N., Shoreline, WA 98133, the program is open to the public. In addition to presentations and the ribbon-cutting, the latest vehicles and automotive technology will be on display with guided tours of the facility.
“This program is all about good jobs for our students and good employees for the automobile dealers,” said Don Schultz, program director. “This is a partnership where everybody wins.”
The expansion project itself was a partnership. Of the total cost, $2 million came from the state of Washington, with the rest from automotive-industry sources, including $1 million from Toyota USA and more than $1 million from members of the Puget Sound Automobile Dealers Association (PSADA).
“The dealers support this program because it works,” said Jim Hammond, executive director of PSADA. “It has the best instructors in the country, in the best facility and it turns out the best students.”
Starting in 1978 with classes on emissions control, the foundations from Shoreline and PSADA worked together to fund and build the original center, which opened in 1992. The center now educates about 120 students a year and provides skill-upgrade training for anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 currently employed workers a year. Student-program partners include Toyota, Honda, GM and Chrysler. For current-worker training, the list includes those four plus: Hyundai, Volvo, Subaru, Nissan, Snap-on Tools, Hunter Engineering and PSADA-sponsored classes.
“There’s nothing like Shoreline in the country,” said Jack Carroll, owner of Jack Carroll Automotive, in Lynnwood, Wash.
Brad Miller, owner of Toyota and Honda dealerships in the Seattle area, said, “In my estimation, (the program) is an example of government/private enterprise and partnership at its finest.”
The expansion adds 26,000 square feet to the existing 32,000-square-foot center. The additional space allows for a corporate center for Toyota, and dedicated training spaces with vehicle lifts and classrooms for Hyundai, Volvo, Hunter, Snap-on and others. Schultz said that Snap-on is creating a “Center for Innovation” in its space.
“Snap-on has been a great partner. They donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tools and tool benches,” Schultz said. “Now, with the Snap-on Center for Innovation, Shoreline will become a center for training and technology for the next generation.”
Schultz said that PEMCO Insurance Company is another key supporter of the center. “Stanley O. McNaughton, Jr., then-CEO was instrumental and Stan McNaughton, III, and his foundation board have continued that support,” Schultz said.