Ford ASSET program provides students with hands-on training

From veterinary technology to architectural design technology, Cosumnes River College offers a wide variety of vocational programs. One unique program is the Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training program.

The Ford ASSET program prepares students to become technicians for either Ford or Lincoln dealerships within a two-year period.

“It’s actually a really rigorous schedule because it’s ensuring students are getting not only all of their Ford certifications during those two years, but also all of their degree requirements,” said Automotive Technology Professor Brian Noel.

Despite having a rigorous schedule, 32-year-old Isaias Cruz said he didn’t have any difficulties. Cruz is a former Ford ASSET student and joined because it was a career he wanted. He said he has enjoyed working as a technician since graduating from the program.

“It is a hard program, but if you’re a hands-on person, then it’s not hard,” said Cruz.

The nationwide program can only be found at community colleges. Since 1999, CRC has been the only college in northern California that offers the program.

Students in the program have the opportunity to work for a dealership while they are earning their associate degree.

“It’s a unique program where students going through the program are currently employed by dealerships,” said Automotive Technology Professor Kevin Rogers. “So it’s not like you’re going to school and then trying to find a job. You have a job while you’re in school.”

The ASSET program ensures an enrolled student will earn a degree in two years because the program has spots reserved in G.E. classes, so students don’t have to worry about getting into classes, said Noel.

Because the campus program covers the entire region and guarantees students get their degree, there are a limited amount of spots available to join the program. Ford ASSET is offered every August with about 25 open spots.

The students who join the program move on to the next course with other students they started the program with.

“All the students will stick together,” Noel said. “The schedule is really set up for them over the entire two years.”

Because the program is nationwide, students don’t have to stick to the region they joined the company in.

“If they decide they want to go to Colorado and they go into a dealership – a Ford dealership – and say ‘I’m an ASSET graduate,’ then they understand what that means,” said Rogers.

The northern California region spreads from the Bay Area to the Oregon border and from Eureka to Reno, Rogers said.

To join the program, there is an online application that gives faculty an understanding of how much a student may already know about automotives and if they have taken the assessment test. The assessment test is a requirement to join. Dealerships like seeing prior experience, but it isn’t needed, said Noel.

“Usually the biggest thing we are looking for is that students meet basic requirements in terms of English and math,” said Noel. “And then just the fact that they have the passion and are really interested in automotive.”