Walk into Tidewater Community College’s Regional Automotive Center and you’ll see highly polished floors and new vehicles on display.
But don’t let the quiet lobby fool you.
Step into one of the 15 instructional laboratory bays and you’ll hear a cacophony from impact guns, wrenches and other machinery mixed with the hum of student and instructor voices.
Inside this Toyota lab, students were servicing front disc brakes and using the on-car brake lathe to repair rotors.
Toyota T-TEN students earn an associate degrees in automotive technology, along with certificates in chassis systems, engine performance, powertrains and electronics. As important as the academic degrees are to advancing, the ability to do the job from day one gives RAC students a real advantage.
Not surprisingly, after just one semester at the college, every student in class works a paid, entry-level position at a Toyota dealership.
“I got hired because of my time at TCC,” said Chris Rogue who works at Checked Flag Toyota. “Everything we’re learning can be immediately used in the field.”
Jaiden Jenkins, recently hired by Casey Toyota, enjoys using the vehicle computer systems to diagnose any problem agrees. “The benefits and pay are good, and the more you learn, and the more credentials you have, the more you earn,” he said.
Toyota students learn on newer Toyota vehicles and use tools and online repair guides provided by the manufacturer.
“I like that our instructor is involved in every step of the hands-on work. He makes sure we’re learning proper techniques and doing everything to industry standards,” said Zachary Clark, who works at Priority Toyota.
“My favorite thing has been taking apart an engine and then putting it back together,” said Sawyer Matthews who works at Charles Barker Toyota. “This program helps us learn the skills we need to become master technicians.”
TCC’s technologically advanced automotive curriculum is based on the Master Automotive Service Technology standards set forth by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation.
TCC is one of 38 schools nationwide that provide Toyota-specific training. The RAC also offers manufacturer programs for Ford, Honda, Chrysler and Subaru.
Step inside and see for yourself. Interested in exploring the career options at the RAC? Call 757-822-5000 to schedule a tour and for more information.