FCC Automotive Department and Toyota team up for students

Story By: Jessie Martinez, Reporter

Fresno City College and Toyota have joined forces to provide students in the automotive field hands-on work experience on campus with a new groundbreaking program.

Since its commencement in June, the Toyota TECS (Technical Education College Support) Elite program brought excitement to the FCC faculty.

“Fresno City College’s automotive program is about one of eight in the nation to have a partnership with Toyota”, said FCC President Carole Goldsmith, during a virtual student forum on Friday Sept. 4.

Acknowledging the importance that vehicles have in our daily lives, Goldsmith also expressed excitement in the high-wage jobs that programs like this will bring to students.

 “We know one thing, all of the cars on the road still need to travel even when we are staying at home,” she added.

She continued to assert that such programs are more important than ever.

Instructor-Coordinator at the FCC Automotive, Diesel, Advanced Vehicle Technology Department Marty Kamimoto, who has taught here for 24 years, oversees the program.

One of the perks of partnerships like this is the hands-on and work experience available to students. As a result, paid internships are available thanks to local car dealerships who collaborate with FCC to make them happen.

“The most important aspect of my job is to provide training to students wanting to learn a skill to better prepare them for not just a job, but a lifelong career to support themselves and their families!” Kamimoto added.

In addition, he told The Fresno Bee that his students would be a top choice for dealerships since auto technicians cannot work on vehicles without certification.

“When they’re done here, they’ll go to the dealership and do their internship, and then the dealer will extend a career job opportunity with them because they’ve gone through here, they’ve done the online training, and they’re bringing the certification on their resume and cover letter” he affirmed.

Wyatt Jones, an FCC sophomore and intern at Hedrick’s Chevrolet in Clovis is one of the students who is working on furthering his automotive career.

“You can actually get your real-world application to see what it is like outside of the classroom,” he told FOX 26 News on Sept. 2.

“You learn a lot in the classroom, but to be able to see how that is applied in real life is very important,” he said.

As with all other aspects of life, the spread of COVID-19 has impacted lab-embedded courses like this one. “When (coronavirus) hit in March, it just knocked us to the ground because we had to figure out how we are going to be able to deliver our classes,” Kamimoto told The Fresno Bee.

When the nine-week fall semester begins on October 13, the 16-student class will be required to wear protective footwear and uniform and have their temperature checked in addition to the usual mask-wearing and social distance practice.

All of these measures are being implemented for the health and safety of everyone involved.

As the family grows, a new home is needed and this is no exception. FCC already has partnerships with automakers like Ford and Subaru, but Kamimoto shared that the automotive programs will be moving in a few years.

“There is an issue of lack of space and the new West Fresno Campus will address this concern.” Kamimoto added that the new West Fresno Campus will be over 60,000 square feet and that it will be the largest Advanced Technology Center west of the Mississippi.

The West Fresno campus will be the automotive department’s Career Technology Education Advanced Technology Center, and completion is expected between summer and fall 2022.

The new Toyota TECS Elite Program offers a Certificate and Associate in Science Degree through the existing FCC Automotive Technology Program. As a plus, financial aid is available to assist with program costs to qualifying students.

To find out more, visit the following link in addition to speaking with a counselor.