Michigan Community College Launches Auto Apprenticeship with Local Dealership


The two-year program allows participants to earn a living wage that increases as they acquire new skills.

Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor, MI, received approval from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to launch an automotive service technician apprenticeship program in partnership with Toyota & Subaru of Ann Arbor. This initiative is the first of its kind in the region, and opens the door for WCC to develop similar apprenticeship programs with other companies for any USDOL approved occupation.

“Our partnership with WCC will continue to serve their mission of making a positive difference in people’s lives through accessible and excellent educational programs and services,” said Michael Spiegl, dealer principal at Toyota & Subaru of Ann Arbor.

The apprenticeship program, lasting two years, allows participants to earn a living wage that increases as they acquire new skills. Apprentices will undergo 2,000 hours of annual on-the-job training at either Toyota or Subaru of Ann Arbor and are required to complete five classes as part of the automotive service technician certificate at WCC.

Kyrsten Rue, manager of experiential learning and employer relations at WCC’s Center for Career Success and Office of Apprenticeship, highlighted the transformative nature of this approval. “This enables us to directly support companies, certify new apprenticeship programs, and help manage, track and document each apprentice’s progress,” she said.

The significance of this program extends beyond the immediate partnership. USDOL Registered Apprenticeship programs, like this one, are known for their structured approach and successful outcomes, with 90% of apprentices finding employment after completion. They are unique in benefiting from both federal and state funding.

WCC's commitment to a well-rounded education that combines classroom learning and hands-on experience aims to prepare apprentices for successful careers in the automotive industry. This approach addresses workforce shortages in high-priority sectors and supports job quality improvements.

“The apprenticeship model is proven to be a great asset to companies who choose to utilize, invest and grow their talent,” said Paul Thomas, apprenticeship coordinator at WCC.

For more information, visit wccnet.edu/apprenticeship.

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