Detroit Three automaker bolsters hands-on learning opportunities for UAA students
Students in the automotive technology program at the University of Alaska Anchorage Community & Technical College (CTC) have access to some of the latest innovations in automotive technology thanks to the recent donation of two vehicles by General Motors Co. (GM).
The Detroit Three automaker helped bolster hands-on learning opportunities for students enrolled in the GM Automotive Service Educational Program (ASEP) with its contribution of a 2012 Cadillac SRX and 2008 GMC Acadia. The vehicles’ combined retail value is more than $70,000.
“The donation of these vehicles is crucial to our students’ long-term success in the field,” said Kelly Smith, director of CTC’s Division of Transportation and Power. “It would be extremely expensive for the university to provide vehicles with this level of technology each year. Because of GM’s contribution, students are able to work on state-of-the-art technology before they encounter it in the workplace.”
The GM ASEP program is a joint initiative between GM, GM dealers and selected colleges throughout the United States and Canada, of which UAA is one. The university provides facilities, instructional and support staff and equipment while GM provides vehicles, components, tools and access to professional development opportunities and service information.
Student technicians engage in a mix of classroom and hands-on learning activities involving the most current GM vehicles while on campus. The education is reinforced through their required internship experience at a sponsoring GM dealership.
In addition to basic theory and operation of engines, transmissions and other vehicle systems, the program prepares students to diagnose and repair the vehicle’s complex computer networks responsible for engine performance, fuel economy, entertainment and safety systems on today’s vehicles. Graduates are awarded GM technical certifications along with an Associate of Applied Science in automotive technology.
“It’s the latest, greatest technology,” said first-year student Randal Smith of the recently donated vehicles. “Being able to have it in front of you is the best way to learn about it.”
The Cadillac SRX has more than 30 onboard computers and four distinct computer networks that operate everything from OnStar and the Bose AM/FM SiriusXM radio to the rearview backup camera and electronic six-speed automatic transmission.
The combination of classroom training combined with real-world experience working with skilled technicians at local dealerships makes it possible for students to put their knowledge to use right away.
“It’s exciting to work on the same cars people are bringing to the dealership,” said first-year student A.J. Gentz. “I mostly worked on carbureted vehicles in high school shop. Here, they have new stuff rather than just working on old vehicles. I can learn in the classroom without the fear of breaking something.”
For further information about the GM ASEP program at UAA, visit www.uaa.alaska.edu/transportation.
About UAA Community & Technical College:
The Community & Technical College offers more than 40 academic programs that provide students with knowledge and technical skills focused on success in high-demand career areas in Alaska, the nation and elsewhere.