Aims Community College Launches Ford ASSET Degree Program

The program prepares students to begin their careers in the automotive industry by gaining hands-on experience and certain Ford certifications.

An automotive student at Aims Community College is seen in this photo from the school's Facebook page.

This fall, Aims Community College in Windsor, CO, will become the first college in the state to implement the Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) program, for students looking for careers in the automotive industry.

“It’s a way for Ford to get more trained technicians in their door," said Aims Automotive Programs Chair Larry Baker. "There’s been a shortage of automotive technicians and all of the manufacturers are struggling to find people. Ford actually has come up with a pretty neat collaboration with schools."

The ASSET program is designed for students interested in beginning their careers at a Ford or Lincoln dealership. Aims’ program is the 41st Ford ASSET program in the country.
The ASSET program at Aims is a two-year associate's degree curriculum designed by both Ford and Aims. It integrates eight weeks of intensive on-campus instruction at the Aims Automotive & Technology Center in Windsor with eight weeks of a paid internship at a local Ford dealership, forming an earn-while-you-learn system.

Students enrolled in the program will graduate with not only a degree but also invaluable Ford certifications in various automotive systems, including steering and suspension, electrical systems, climate control, and both manual and automatic transmissions. They will also accumulate a year of practical work experience, gaining proficiency on the latest Ford vehicles and service techniques.

Notably, the Aims Ford ASSET program has an all-female instructional team, a first of its kind. Valeska Howton will be the lead instructor and Allie Bowen will be the secondary instructor. Both are graduates of the Aims Automotive program and were called to teach others the skills they have learned.

“I have a passion for working with vehicles,” Howton said. She said she has learned how to “keep up with guys” with decades of experience in a male-dominated field. “I always let my work create my reputation,” she said. “To step into this role, I feel really proud.”

Howton has always been a Ford fan and owns a few. Aside from personal preference, she sees the direct connection with the dealerships as a major benefit of the program.

“Through the Ford ASSET Program, Aims is poised to contribute knowledgeable, proficient and readily employable talents to the automotive workforce,” said Dr. Leah L. Bornstein, Aims Community College CEO and president. “Gaining that hands-on experience that makes them industry-ready, almost from day one.”

The Aims Board of Trustees approved moving forward with the ASSET program in December. “With our board’s overwhelming approval of the Ford ASSET program, we send a clear message: we are dedicated to providing students with a competitive edge,” said Marilyn Schock, chair of the Aims Board of Trustees.

Get more information about the program and apply at

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