Shoreline Community College will receive an $80,000 grant to help more students move into high paying automotive-industry jobs.
“This enables more students to get the support they need for the training they want,” said Bill Sperling, Director of Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language at the college.
Sperling oversees the school’s I-BEST programs, or Integrated Basic Education Skills Training. I-BEST programs combine skills training with academic and language support, literally putting a second instructor in the room. The grant money is targeted at students in one of the five I-BEST programs, General Service Technician, which is tied to SCC’s award-winning automotive technician training program.
“We submitted a proposal … to increase the transition rate of students from an existing I-BEST program into a degree granting program at the other end of the pathway,” Sperling said. “Shoreline’s proposal linked our automotive General Service Technician (GST) program and our factory-sponsored automotive training programs.”
The Professional Automotive Training Center at Shoreline Community College partners with the Puget Sound Auto Dealers Association along with Toyota, Honda, GM and Chrysler to educate and train technicians. Students work in dealerships as part of the program, virtually guaranteeing 100 percent job placement. SCC’s program also provides ongoing training for technicians with those four manufacturers plus Hyundai, Volvo and Hunter Industries, which builds alignment and other equipment. A new partner for the program is Snap-on Tools, which is establishing an “Innovation Center” at Shoreline.
The I-BEST grant application was done in conjunction with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. “This work really builds on our partnership efforts,” said Peter Cavanaugh, WDC project manager.
“Now, of course, the hard work begins,” Sperling said. “We proposed to increase the number of GST students who subsequently enroll in one of the factory-sponsored programs from around 25 percent to 50 percent or roughly doubling the current number. The task is huge, given the barriers that many GST students face.”
The grant is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. Shoreline’s grant is one of 10 awarded in the state for the 2010-11 academic year. The award is for the next fiscal year, starting July 1, with the possibility of a second year at $80,000, based on performance.