New Academy to Meet Rising Need for Trained Service Technicians

Partnership between Chrysler Group LLC and Glendale Community College is one of only two in the United States

Picture yourself driving a new Chrysler 300? Or is a Jeep more your style? Either way, the recent opening of the new regional Chrysler Academy School of Technical Training Center, an alliance between GCC and Chrysler Group LLC, means these vehicles – or at least, engines and other assorted parts of these vehicles – will reside on the GCC campus.

The Chrysler Technical Training Center, where classes began in October 2012, aims to expand the capabilities of dealership technicians by providing the training mandated by the automotive manufacturer. The Training center serves both new Chrysler technicians and those who are renewing their credentials and has already become a magnet for personnel from Chrysler dealers in Arizona, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico.

The new training facility occupies 8,717 square feet in ICB-1, on the northeast corner of campus. It is one of 24 Chrysler regional training centers in the U.S., though only the second stand-alone facility created from a partnership with a local college.

“Glendale Community College’s drive for excellence and Chrysler’s resources for technology will enhance the capabilities and employability of the Chrysler service force, and also benefit surrounding communities,” said Roman Gonzalez, area training manager for Chrysler, who spoke at the grand opening of the facility on January 15.

“Together, GCC and Chrysler can now offer Maserati and Fiat service training, offered only at regional training centers; this places GCC firmly on the map for exceptional, exclusive training,” said Dr. Irene Kovala, GCC president.

Aside from the stand-alone training facility, GCC also offers a Chrysler-sponsored associates degree through the normal automotive degree program on campus. The Chrysler College Automotive Program (CAP) and GCC partner on another level to recruit and train new student/technicians, which includes dealer-sponsored student internships at Chrysler Group franchises. The core curriculum – which includes classroom training as well as hands-on experience with the latest components and newest technology – allows students to gain credits for courses they would not normally obtain without the two-year degree.

As part of the program, Chrysler also commits to an annual scholarship geared specifically to college automotive program students.

“Automotive technology is so sophisticated now, there has to be a ‘farm club’ to bring up qualified professionals,” said Richard Fleming, internship recruiter for the program. Fleming, who has spent his entire career in the automotive industry, is making the rounds to ensure dealers are aware of the program. He also reaches out to local and regional schools to promote the career benefits, which, for the best service technicians, can be lucrative.

Completing and continually updating training credentials sanctioned by automotive manufacturers makes service employees more valuable to automotive dealers, who strive to keep warranty costs down.

The partnership between GCC and Chrysler contributes to preparing a highly skilled workforce that can respond effectively to rising industry competition, rapid technological change, and economic opportunity for all parties involved. As Dana Saar, Maricopa Community Colleges District governing board member, said at the Center’s grand opening, “As long as we’re still driving cars, there’s going to be a need for these kinds of programs.”

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