First Scholarship Recipient for Auto Parts Tech

The School of Applied Technology at Alfred State College is pleased to announce the first recipient of the automotive parts technology scholarship provided by UNI-SELECT, the leading network of independently owned auto parts dealer in Canada and a rapidly growing parts provider in the United States.

Andrew Schmitt, of Hornell, has been awarded $4,000 to begin his studies in the AAS degree program.

The agreement between ASC and UNI-SELECT allows freshman students accepted into the auto parts technology program to be awarded $1,000 per semester for up to four semesters if they remain in good academic standing (a 2.0 grade point average out of a possible 4.0).

The automotive parts technology program is a two-year AAS (associate in applied science) program-the first of its kind on the Wellsville campus which has traditionally conferred only AOS (associate in occupational studies) degrees. Up until now, there has been no college-level automotive parts technology curriculum in the state that fills that need, according to college officials.

Fall 2007 is the inaugural semester for this new program which complements the existing automotive trades curriculums: automotive service, auto body repair, heavy equipment/truck and diesel, and motorsports technology.

Because the existing automotive programs all require access to aftermarket parts, a local business runs an active auto parts store on the Wellsville Campus, where students are regularly exposed to its operation. This was made possible by ASC industry partner Fred Roberts Auto Parts. The partnership was developed with the vision of developing a two-year automotive parts technology program for the industry. This hands-on program and its courses have been developed based upon input from experts in the automotive parts store industry.

A task force of automotive parts store representatives has been working with ASC on development of this program since 2002. This has included developing the on-campus parts store.

James E. Buzzard, executive vice president, UNI-SELECT USA, notes that Alfred State College's "continued commitment to excellence in education and desire to expand the program offering and degree level" make this partnership possible. "This [program] will give our industry and company the future employees with the needed technical and business training."

Craig R. Clark, ASC interim vice president for academic affairs, concurs: "This new program is a great example of how industry and education can work together in a true partnership; in fact," he noted, "We are pleased to announce the first of many scholarship award winners for this great new program."

Because the goal of the program is to graduate students who are not only great technicians, but who will also be great managers, the curriculum includes general education and business courses to help students build communication and business skills.

The program has also been designed to allow its graduates to articulate easily with Alfred State's technology management (BBA) degree which allows students who earn an associate's degree in a technical or professional area to complete a bachelor's degree using a 2 + 2 format. While Alfred State has a strong reputation for graduating students with outstanding technical skills, these two-year students have lacked management and business training, which is crucial for future entrepreneurs. Technology management fills that need, college officials said.

Graduates of the program will find employment in automotive parts stores, automotive dealerships, and larger fleet operations at construction companies or municipalities as well as at larger institutions that have their own fleets and maintenance organizations.

Alfred State College's Automotive Trades programs boast one of the largest automotive-related college level enrollments in New York State. Currently, the automotive trades programs serve 260 students with 16 faculty and over 80,000 square feet of facilities to provide hands-on learning.