Nashua, NH, Community College automotive programs will soon launch a paid summer co-op for students.
The campus is just a few miles away from Merrimack High School, offering a convenient next step for MHS automotive students seeking a post-secondary degree or certificate.
NCC's Collision Repair Technology and Automotive Technology faculty have developed the co-op in partnership with the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association. "It will be a 200-hour paid co-op, and NHADA will be matching their partners with students in the programs," said Karl Wunderlich, department chair for industry and transportation programs at NCC, and program coordinator for collision repair technology.
The Honda PACT program, a two-year associate degree pathway, training students in the repair and maintenance of Honda vehicles, already has a paid summer internship in place.
For collision repair and automotive, adding the summer co-op will help students connect with employers and get the career readiness skills they need for long-term success. Currently, Professor Wunderlich says NCC faculty individually support students in seeking work.
"A lot of times, students ask me where to look for a job, and I try to match it to the student," said Wunderlich. "I want to place them where they will get mentorship. Also, if I have a student with a particular interest, like working on old cars, I try to connect them with a shop within decent driving distance specializing in that work."
One example is second-year collision repair student Silas Magargee, who has been working at AK Rods & Customs in Londonderry, NH, since last spring. "I've always wanted to do restoration work," said Magergee. He began studying automotive technology while in high school at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH, before graduating in 2018 and enrolling at NCC. He chose NCC since it had the only collision repair program in New Hampshire. After graduation in May 2020, Magergee plans to continue working with AK Rods & Customs.
Professor Wunderlich connected Magargee with the business, "He's able to use all of his skills there, it was a perfect fit," said Wunderlich.
The new co-op will be an excellent new support for students preparing for the workforce, but even now, job prospects are strong. "If students want to work in this industry, I'll find them a job. That's not a problem," said Wunderlich. The co-op program will launch in summer 2021.