The Yuba College automotive instructors are keeping right up with the automotive world by teaching their students how to diagnose problems and fix the newest electric and gas fueled hybrids on the road.
Both Michael Morse and Bill Steen stay up to date on the latest vehicle technology by attending schools and seminars during the summer months, giving them the information they need to pass onto their students.
The three hybrid vehicles the automotive department use are a Toyota Prius, a Nissan Altima and a GMC flex-fuel pickup. Morse obtained a grant to purchase the hybrid vehicles through a national consortium coordinated out of West Virginia University. Yuba College is one of only two schools in California associated with the consortium.
The training given to students is general instruction and safety, with a serious consideration for safety because of the high voltage used in the hybrids. They even have a fiberglass pole in case of electrocution to pull students away from vehicles, though so far they have never had to use it. Other safety equipment is very much like what Pacific Gas and Electric would use.
Students enrolled in automotive classes can obtain a variety of different associates degrees as well as smog, transmission or repair certificates; all of these can definitely help a person obtain a high paying automotive job instead of just being a basic mechanic.
Steen mentioned that they also will gladly repair anyone’s vehicle if they set up a date and time, with no labor charges, only charges for the parts. The students use the profits to go on automotive related field trips. He recognized that with the economy being as terrible as it is, car buying is not always an option, so a person ends up taking their car in for repairs, which boosts the need for more automotive technicians.
There are weekly Auto Club meetings that are very formal, including officers, and proceedings using “Roberts Rules of Order”. One of the clubs major contributions to the community is working in unison with food drives on campus.