(WACO, Texas) – The time is coming closer for students in Texas State Technical College’s Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) to graduate and go to work at dealerships throughout the state.
“This is a really good group of students,” said Matthew Mills, a TSTC instructor in the Automotive Technology program’s Mopar CAP program. “Most of them have a lot of potential, and some are a little green. They all will make some great technicians.”
Mills is proud of his students having a 100% job placement rate before graduation. Students graduating from the program receive a certificate of completion in Automotive Technology – Chrysler Specialization.
John O’Neal, of Normangee, said he has mixed emotions about graduating but is ready for what lies ahead for him. He will continue working at Lithia Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat in Bryan as an automotive technician.
“This (Mopar CAP) program gets you into a shop quicker,” O’Neal said.
His classmate, Eli Alvarado, of Hutto, arrived in fall 2021 to TSTC with a $10,000 scholarship from Pep Boys’ Find Your Drive initiative.
“It was beneficial to me a lot with school,” he said. “It was one less thing I had to pay.”
Alvarez worked at a Chrysler dealership in Taylor while he attended classes. He said doing this made his time at TSTC go quicker.
After graduation, he will begin work as an automotive technician at Toliver Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Mineola. Alvarez said he has relatives living in East Texas.
“It will be a new way of living,” he said.
Dillon Schleeter, of Celina, will continue at Dodge City Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of McKinney, where he has worked since he graduated from high school.
“It feels good,” he said of his upcoming graduation from TSTC. “I earned it. It’s an easy field to earn your place in if you want it.”
Schleeter said some of his favorite work in the program has been on engines.
“I feel well prepared,” Schleeter said. “The instructors did their jobs.”
Students who are accepted to TSTC can apply to the Automotive Technology – Chrysler Specialization program. Program students take seven weeks of classes on campus and work seven weeks at Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Ram, Fiat or Alfa Romeo dealerships while at TSTC. All students are expected to find the dealerships that will hire them for the program-required cooperatives. Students will also earn factory-specific certifications in several specializations, including brakes, engines and HVAC systems.
There will be a need for more than 61,000 automotive service technicians and mechanics in Texas in 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*NET OnLine website.
TSTC’s Spring 2023 Commencement will be at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, at BASE at Extraco Events Center at 4401 Bosque Blvd. in Waco.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.