Through the support and partnership of the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association (GBNCDA) and WSM Auctions, Bakersfield College has opened its new Automotive Technology Training facility at the Bakersfield Auto Mall. The partnership will provide students the opportunity to train and learn on trade-in vehicles which will then be auctioned resulting in support for the College’s program.
John Pitre, Director of the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association and COO of Motor City Buick, GMC and Lexus, knows the importance of investing in both the automotive community and local workforce. He says, “As the technology in our industry evolves, so does the demand for more skills and knowledge. By bringing Bakersfield College closer to the auto mall with this modern facility, we are opening up opportunities for current and future workforce to advance their skills and careers, earn certificates, and keep the best technicians here at home, in Bakersfield to give the very best service back to our community. We look forward to providing a pathway for young people to make professional wages in the Automotive industry."
Dean of Instruction at Bakersfield College, Tony Cordova, couldn’t agree more. He says, “This partnership will put BC’s students in realistic dealership scenarios and offer direct contact with potential employers, providing a homegrown solution to the ongoing industry-wide shortage of new automotive technicians. This space began as just an idea and has been a dream of our faculty for a long time. We couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support from GBNCDA and WSM Auctions and we look forward to addressing the skills gaps and much needed skills development for this growing and rapidly advancing industry.”
The 10,000 sq. ft. building, located at 2703 Blue Mountain Way, features a classroom and multiple shop bays, where students will learn and train in a hands-on environment using trade-in vehicles, provided by GBNCDA’s dealerships. Also housing the business operations of WSM Auctions, the building includes a full auction floor where vehicles that are repaired by students may be auctioned.
Bakersfield College developed a comprehensive training curriculum, taught by SAE and ASE certified instructors, that prepares automotive students to be hired into entry-level and intermediate automotive technician jobs. At the new facility, BC will offer this training using state-of-the-art equipment from cutting edge industry leaders, such as General Motors, Snap-On Tools, Bosch Auto Parts, AES Wave, Integrated Supply Network, Hunter Engineering, and Chemical Guys.
Kern County currently has an automotive repair and maintenance deficit of nearly 2,250 jobs, starting with an earning potential of $43,500. And this industry is estimated to have a total GDP for Kern County of $173,000,000.00. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth of 69,000 openings for automotive service technicians each year through 2030, with an advanced technician with proper certifications earning $100,000 or more.
“I am so pleased that this beautiful facility of learning and collaboration has become a reality,” said Kern Community College District Trustee, Kay Meek. “For countless years, the Greater Bakersfield New Car Dealers Association has been a tremendous supporter of education and Bakersfield College students through providing scholarships. I am so proud to see the local auto industry partner with Bakersfield College to continue preparing our workforce for stable, successful, and meaningful careers.”
Bakersfield College’s newly developed curriculum and restructured program condenses what was previously 16-weeks of course work into 8-weeks, providing options to take hybrid lectures online with hands-on labs. Students can now complete a certificate program in as little as six months and a degree in 18 months.
“It’s a win-win and really an exciting opportunity to have BC’s instructors and students right here at the WSM Auctions facility,” said Austin Pennington, Owner and Vice President at WSM Auctions. “It’s going to be rewarding, not only for the students but for our community since these trainees will receive training on a variety of car makes and models as they come through the auction process.”