Accreditation expands entry into auto industry

By Salvador Godoy, Advocate Staff

The Contra Costa College automotive services department for the first time earned accreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) last summer, providing benefits to young skilled automotive technicians who are striving to enter the automotive industry.

Automotive services department Chairperson Lucile Beatty said the certification took three years for evaluation and the fall 2016 semester marks the first time for the program to become officially certified under NATEF.

NATEF is a nonprofit organization that evaluates and accredits post-secondary, public and proprietary training program schools against standards established by the automotive industry.

 “This is a great milestone as (the program) will give a competitive edge for students in our department,” she said. “During certification, we worked closely with NATEF to ensure we have met the strict national standards. We’re glad that it has been achieved successfully.”

Previously, automotive students who worked toward an automotive degree were required to transfer to an accredited automotive training program certified by NATEF in order to receive creditability once applying for an automotive job.

Starting now, that has been changed.

“Dealerships, automotive repair shops and other automotive businesses will look for applicants who have attended a school that has been NATEF certified,” Beatty said.

Beatty said now that the program has been certified through NATEF, it will be easier for students to apply for entry-level job positions.

The automotive department plans to negotiate with local dealerships to provide internships for students with the intention to have the applications offered for the spring semester.

“In terms of internships, we are going to begin working with the Hilltop Hanlees dealerships,” she said, “to see if they can provide internships to students here in the (automotive) department.”

Automotive students who are enrolled in the program provided positive insight that will help boost their credibility once they are in the automotive industry field.

Bruce Lacey, who is majoring as an automotive repair technician, said, “I felt pretty good when I heard about the program being certified by NATEF. It gives me more confidence to continue with my (automotive) career.”

Erick Gonzalez, CCC automotive services major, said, “The certification is going to help boost my credibility and apply for a better position in the future.”