An anonymous San Diego County couple motivated by a desire to give back to the community has pledged $100,000 to help students at Cuyamaca College’s award-winning Automotive Technology program fund their education.
The couple, who once attended a community college, said they hope the new ‘Pay It Forward Scholarship Program’ funded through their planned gift will ensure that any student with an interest can secure the training needed to thrive in an increasingly technologically complex industry with good-paying, in-demand jobs.
“Thousands of students come to Cuyamaca College every year for the education and skills they need to secure well-paying jobs and better their lives, and we are absolutely thrilled this amazing couple is providing such a generous gift to our Automotive Technology program,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “So many of our students need additional financial support to meet their educational goals, so this new scholarship program will be a huge difference maker.”
Promoting automotive technology as a career option has been an industry priority. A recent report by the TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit focused on supporting aspiring transportation technicians, found that postsecondary supply of new vehicle technicians and mechanics is not keeping up with industry demand.
While creating the scholarship program is not imminent, Cuyamaca College remains a career education leader when it comes to automotive technology. This spring it plans to launch a new Automotive Service Councils of California Associate of Science Degree program, the state’s first associate degree program that combines classroom and online teaching with on-the-job training at independent repair shops. The college’s Automotive Technology Program also offers the General Motors-sponsored Automotive Service Educational Program (ASEP) program, which trains students in all systems of GM vehicles, and the Ford-sponsored ASSET degree program, which trains students in all systems of the manufacturer’s vehicles. One of only three in the state, the college’s Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Education Training) program is recognized as one of the best training programs of its kind in the world.
Virtually every student graduating from those programs are hired by sponsoring dealerships with starting salaries of approximately $22 per hour.
Automotive service technicians and mechanics earn an average wage of nearly $46,000 annually in San Diego County, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and employment nationwide is projected to grow 6 percent annually through 2026.
Anyone interested in arranging for a planned gift to Cuyamaca or Grossmont College can contact Dana Rivers at email@example.com or by calling (619) 644-7652.