BC Partners with Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealer Association, WSM Auctions, and More on NEW Automotive Facility

automotive students working

Monday, August 23, 2021

Bakersfield College will partner with the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealer Association (GBNCDA), WSM Auctions, and other automotive industry partners on an upcoming automotive facility, to be located at Pacheco Road and Corrine St, at the Bakersfield Auto Mall. This new facility will provide much needed space for auto technology training and will expand student access to newer vehicles for hands-on mechanical and reconditioning experience. It has a tentative opening planned for January, 2022. Under this partnership, Bakersfield College's skilled Automotive Technology faculty will bring a newly developed comprehensive curriculum focused on preparing new students for the rapidly evolving automotive business and service industry jobs. This will be in addition to non-credit offerings for current technicians to expand on their skill set with supplemental training for community members who also wish to explore this industry as a potential career.

Bakersfield College's Automotive Faculty, Andrew Haney says the partnership has been the result of over four years worth of conversations and a great collaboration with GBNCDA to develop a new and innovative way for both public education and industry to work together on driving the local and national workforce into the future of the automotive industry.

In recent years, we developed a need for students to have access to newer vehicle technology in lab settings. Through many ideas and conversations, we developed this partnership as a way for Bakersfield College students to train on the vehicles that otherwise might not be profitable due to normal technician labor costs, giving new access for the students to work on current and relevant technologies. It's a win-win for the students and the automotive industry, says Haney. Because of our location and being so central to California, Arizona, and Nevada we are positioned to host this type of training facility. It unites all automotive brands, equipment and tool manufacturing companies in a new creative way never done before. We are getting outside the normal box that surrounds education in general around this industry, changing things up.

The GBNCDA is committed to helping students gain full employment and become active participants in the vibrant automotive service industry, aligning well with Bakersfield College's goals of increasing economic vitality throughout the region with steady employment provided by education and skills. Dean of Instruction at Bakersfield College, Anthony Cordova explained the importance of this new partnership. He said, With this partnership, the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealer Association is investing in their current workforce by providing opportunities for them to skill-up and learn the latest emerging technologies and business practices, but they're also strengthening and developing the local talent which will be our workforce for the next generation of automotive technology. The field is growing and evolving with clean energy trends and the latest technology, so this much needed, new facility will ensure Bakersfield and Kern County stays ahead of the curve with the skilled workforce needed to keep vehicles running and safe throughout our region and state, and country.

The new facility will include repair bays, a classroom for lessons and workshops, a parts room, tool room, and a full auction facility to be operated by WSM Auctions. In addition to Bakersfield College's Associate of Science degree in Automotive Technology and several related Certificates of Achievement, BC developed a comprehensive new curriculum to be taught by instructors who are currently earning their Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE)-certification, allowing for faculty to prepare automotive students to be hired into entry-level automotive jobs and maintain institutional accreditation. BC's faculty are focused on two types of new curriculum, one for emerging technologies and one on electric and alternative fuel type vehicles.

Rendering of a new facility with larg windows and garage doors.

The GBNCDA and the automotive industry in Kern County collectively employ thousands of people. Kern County has an automotive repair and maintenance workforce deficit of roughly 2,230 jobs with average annual salary of $43,500. Kern's automotive industry gross domestic product is over $170 million. It is also projected that by earning electric vehicle certification operation and maintenance certification, technicians can advance into jobs that offer a significantly increased income potential, upwards of 10-20% higher average annual salaries. The GBNCDA plans to encourage the non-technical staff of the 13 member dealers to become students of BC's program, giving them the opportunity to advance while diversifying the local skilled workforce with already invested employees.

Ted Nicholas, GBNCDA Director says, “This is an exciting time in the auto industry and this partnership signifies how our local dealers, right here in Bakersfield, are reinvesting in our employees and looking to inspire the next generation of technicians. The industry as a whole is stepping up to the challenge, embracing electrification and developing new fleets of vehicles that have the latest advanced technologies. Through this partnership our current and future employees will maintain a competitive edge through this industry boom as we better serve our customers and community.”

Additionally, the GBNCDA has established programs through local high schools and will partner with the Bakersfield College Automotive Technology program to work with state and regional transitional organizations to make this education training to workforce program accessible for those looking to enter a stable and growing career field.

Both Bakersfield College and the GBNCDA expect continued high demand for workers with the skill sets in this new and existing curriculum. Haney says, “These skills are highly sought after in the automotive industry. Our overarching partnership goal is to help students and workers gain full employment in the regional automotive industry, while helping create both a growing workforce for current industry and for increasing electric vehicle opportunities. We couldn't be more thankful to GBNCDA for empowering this community college-led program with the space and resources needed to continue fueling our regional workforce through education and training that's focused on the future.”

Kern Community College District Trustee, Kay Meek is glad to see the result of this partnership becoming a reality. She said, “The Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealer Association has been tremendous supporters of BC students for many, many years and they are an important pillar in our community. GBNCDA strives to always ensure Bakersfield and Kern County residents have access to the best automotive services anywhere in the country and this partnership with public education shows one of their many ways they invest in the growth and success of our community.”

Bakersfield College has a variety of Auto Technology courses open for enrollment this fall. Classes will be taught, in-person, or in a hybrid format. Courses such as AUTO B11 - Introduction to Automotive Technology, will begin as early as August 23 but late start courses are also available. To learn more about the Automotive Technology Associate of Science degree or any of the 10 auto related certificates of achievement, visit Automotive Technology Degrees and Certificates.

Bakersfield College provides opportunities for students from diverse economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds to attain Associate and Baccalaureate degrees and certificates, workplace skills, and preparation for transfer. Our rigorous and supportive learning environment fosters students' abilities to think critically, communicate effectively, and demonstrate competencies and skills in order to engage productively in their communities and the world.