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Students paired with dealerships across Oregon for paid training, full-time jobs at graduation

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: MT. HOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE - The new Subaru U certificate program is turning out technicians to maintain and repair the popular Japanese cars. Starting this fall, Mt. Hood Community College students can attend "Subaru U" and get a degree in automotive technology focused on maintaining and repairing the popular Japanese cars.

MHCC first partnered with Subaru of America in 2015, but initially the college used an online program to provide the Subaru U factory certification to its automotive technology students. Since then, the training has been provided through the college's IMPORT (Individualized Mechanical Program Of Repair Technicians) associate degree program.

Now, the new Subaru U degree program will pair students with sponsoring Subaru dealerships, providing paid, on-the-job training and full-time jobs after graduation. Nine Subaru dealerships throughout Oregon will sponsor students.

The college said in a statement that there is high demand for Subaru automotive technicians.

"Our students love Subarus and they frequently tell us they want to work on them," said Eric Garvey, an MHCC automotive instructor in an announcement. "Plus, there's a huge regional demand here in the Pacific Northwest for Subaru cars and SUVs, so it's a win-win."

In 2017, more than 30 students completed the Subaru U online factory certification, which Subaru provided at no cost to MHCC students.

Subaru has also donated equipment and five training vehicles for the students.

"We have the training vehicles, the tools and equipment to teach this curriculum already," said MHCC automotive instructor Steve Michener. "Our students currently train on factory-level Subaru technology and can earn a Subaru-specific degree and factory certification, as well as their ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Certified Master Technician."

There is a lot of demand for technicians to work on all types of cars. The TechForce Foundation estimates an average of 75,900 technician jobs will be open every year in the U.S.

The college also teams up with Ford and Chrysler for similar programs that focus on maintaining and repairing automobiles from those companies.

To learn more about MHCC's Automotive Technology programs, visit: mhcc.edu/AutomotiveTechnology.

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