Beginning this semester, Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan is offering a one-year certificate program in General Automotive Service (GAS). Full implementation of the new program starts in fall 2019.
“This was driven by our local employers and advisory committee who are desperate for technicians at any skill level,” Kalamazoo Valley’s Automotive Department chair Doug Martin said. “It has led to a few agreements of understanding with employers who want to see their technicians progress and become more skilled.”
Employers are looking at sending new hires or perspective employees through the program so they don’t have to do the training in-house, Martin said.
The certificate program is designed to provide a rapid path to entry-level technician skills. Students may enroll in the program independently or through employers.
Students will be prepared to take state certification exams in engines, brakes, steering and suspension, and air conditioning, as well as Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) certification for refrigerant handling.
The program also provides the option of becoming ASE General Service Technician certified. And, for students wishing to continue their education, requirements for this certificate fulfill the first two semesters of the school’s automotive drivability systems AAS and automotive undercar systems AAS programs.
It also can be used as the first step toward a B.S. in automotive with an emphasis on management skills.
“We have employers considering using this option for training service writers, clerical, management and other positions,” Martin said. “This industry is just changing so fast. We will strive to use the resources we have to do everything we can to keep up with employer demand.”