The Shoreline Community College Automotive Program has been named a finalist for a 2010 Bellwether Award. The program received the recognition for its stellar advances in the Workforce Development category.
The national award program, which recognizes outstanding and
innovative programs at community colleges each year, selected Shoreline for its successful partnerships with manufacturers and dealerships, its graduate employment rate (90-100%), and its integration of the short-term, entry-level General Service Technician (GST) program for non-native and low-skilled students.
At Shoreline, students have earned certificates and two-year degrees with factory-sponsored programs (Chrysler, General Motors, Honda andToyota) for 25+ years. Graduates have moved into lucrative careers and some have gone on to become master technicians. Additionally, local dealers send their technicians to Shoreline for upgrade training, saying it has saved them up to $65,000 annually in training expenses.
“The instructors and industry partners are so committed to this program that it’s easy to understand its success,” Susan Hoyne, Dean of Science at Shoreline said. “It’s a real feather in the cap to have the hard work of everyone recognized with this award.”
Although Shoreline’s automotive programs have grabbed lots of attention for years, there is no doubt that the three-quarter GST program impressed the Bellwether judges. Developed and launched three years ago for students who needed help with basic skills and English in the classroom and a program that would lead to employment, GST was designed as an I-BEST program. It was also developed to support entry-level workers in the automotive industry.
ESL/ABE instructor, Betsy Binnian is in the classroom about 50 percent of the time to ensure that students get the help they need with English, reading comprehension, study skills development – anything that will help them succeed.
“A lot of these students have been out of school for a long time or not been in school before,” GST instructor Mark Hankins said, “and having Betsy there really helps them believe in themselves and get the help they need.”
Students complete internships during the last quarter and Binnian makes sure they are ready to start working, helping them with résumé development, writing cover letters for job applications and interviewing skills to prepare them for getting a job when they’ve finished the program. Hankins said there are currently 21 students in the program.
The GST graduates enter the workforce in entry-level positions with basic automotive diagnosis and repair skills earning approximately $11.50 an hour.
The Certificate of Proficiency not only gets students into the workforce, but provides a pathway into other automotive programs. The majority of them decide to continue their education, 61 percent of them enrolling in one of the college’s two-year auto programs.
In a recent report prepared by Andrew Ang, a career navigator whose job includes supporting GST students, it was noted that over 44 percent of the GST completers continued their studies, with nearly 61 percent of them enrolling in one of the factory-sponsored automotive programs. Ang also found that more than 90 percent of GST graduates were still employed two years later. Tae Young Kim is one of those.
Kim not only completed the Honda PACT program, but graduated top in his class in June 2009. Now, Kim is impressing his boss at Lynnwood Honda.
“He is a model employee,” Service Manager John Royce said. “He has excellent work ethics and has a very strong focus on quality and taking care of the customer.” Kim started his work changing oil and has now moved into a technician. Royce said he is “a gem.”
Automotive instructor and interim director Bob Biesiedzinski says he has seen impressive outcomes since the GST program was implemented in 2007.
“The students feel such a sense of accomplishment – many never dreaming that they could earn a degree - something they wouldn’t have experienced without the GST program,” Biesiedzinski says. “Now our ESL and ABE students are earning degrees and moving into the workforce earning good salaries.”
Lucas Nielsen completed the GST program and moved into the Honda PACT program. “He’ll graduate in June,” Biesiedzinski, his instructor, said. “He started at Shoreline as a CEO student, and now is closing in on earning a two-year degree that will provide him with not only a job, but a career.” Nielsen will graduate in December of 2011. He is currently working at Honda of Seattle.
Shoreline CC President Lee Lambert, Dean Hoyne, Biesiedzinski and Ang have been asked to present at the Community College Futures Assembly in Orlando, Florida in January. Additionally, Shoreline automotive faculty will travel to Morocco to train instructors later this year, Hoyne said, via a Department of Labor grant through a partnership with Gateway.
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