The General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program (GM ASEP) at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College recognized and celebrated its 11 graduates from the class of 2017 at an on-campus luncheon. The event gave faculty and staff the opportunity to highlight the students’ success and congratulate them on completing the program. All received job offers from various local GM dealerships.
“I’ve seen a lot of students whom I’ve taught in the past who are now mentors. That’s where this program really just comes full circle,” said Keith Brown, head of NOVA-Alexandria’ Automotive Technology Program and GM ASEP. “We do this every year because we want to celebrate our graduates and their success.”
Alexandria Provost Annette Haggray was in attendance for the celebration along with Dr. Ivy Beringer, dean of the Social & Professional Sciences Division. Representatives from AC Delco and Chevy encouraged the students emphasizing that there is always a need for experienced and well-trained automotive technicians at their dealerships considering how technology continues to change the automotive industry.
Through GM ASEP, students are required to get sponsorship from a local GM dealership or AC Delco while taking classes. The majority of the students are then offered a permanent position at their sponsoring location after completing the program. Being a GM ASEP college makes NOVA one of 60 institutions in the U.S. and Canada that are creating the pipeline between educational training and the automotive industries.
“This program is challenging because you’re working and going to school in addition to everything else in your life,” said Danny Smith with AC Delco who completed the ASEP program a few years ago in Maryland. “The automotive technician is in high demand. The beauty about this program is you not only receive a degree, you get shaped and molded by experts.”
Danita Bland-Sowell, who has been with Chevy for more than 10 years, said that GM is grateful for the partnership with NOVA and other colleges and universities because it continues to train and educate much needed automotive technicians.
“Without your partnership and help, we would not be a success,” Bland-Sowell said.
The GM ASEP 2017 graduates included Andrae Asanza (Ted Britt Chevrolet); Jeffrey Blanco-Bustamante (Joyce Koons Buick-GMC); Connor Delery, Rico Romero and John Mark Sound (Pohanka Chevrolet); Dominic Dintino and Josue Toro (Moore Cadillac); Sharooz Esmaili, John McGhee and Jose Pleitez (Page Chevrolet); Menghorn Seng (Jim McKay Chevrolet). Smith recognized John McGhee as the recipient of the 2017 Leadership Award, and Bland-Sowell presented the Academic Achievement Award to Toro.
NOVA has had a partnership with GM since 1982 when the GM ASEP program first started. Since then, more than 700 students have graduated from the program from the Alexandria Campus alone to go on to receive job offers at local and regional GM dealerships.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.