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Home > News & Events > Press Releases > 2008 > Graduates of new program earn jobs along with valuable skills

Press Releases

Graduates of new program earn jobs along with valuable skills

September 26, 2008

Eight men recently completed an innovative training program at the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. Working with Tire Kingdom, the Manassas Campus automotive program created a special five-week course to teach basic automotive skills and provide employment opportunities.

The graduates are Chun Kin Lam of Aldie, Ernest Nkansah of Lorton, Andy Phun of South Riding, Alexis Reyes of Centreville, Miguel Ruiz of Alexandria, Jessie Smith of Stafford, Matthew Thomas of Triangle and Anh Trieu of Manassas Park. Seven of the men are now employed by Tire Kingdom and the other graduate will receive job placement assistance when he becomes 18 years old.

“Tire Kingdom found that the fast-paced environment in their stores places a lot of pressure on inexperienced employees resulting in very high turnover. Our program provides participants with an opportunity to learn in an environment where they feel comfortable to ask questions and even make mistakes,” said Heather Neikirk, administrative assistant for career and technical education at NOVA.

The program, called Model Adult Automotive Pathway (MAAP), teaches such skills as tire mounting and balancing, oil change procedures, fluid exchanges, and vehicle inspections. Students spend three-fourths of the course practicing hands-on tasks in the shop and the rest of the time in the classroom.

“Tire Kingdom is hoping the MAAP program will be an effective training class for entry level employees because it is costly for them to continually hire new general service technicians,” Neikirk said. “In addition, the company believes our graduates will stay with Tire Kingdom longer since the program gives the students the crucial skills to be successful.”

Former NOVA automotive student Graham Savage was the instructor for the course. Another group of students recently completed the MAAP program at NOVA’s Alexandria Campus. To learn more, call 703-323-2357 or email

Tire Kingdom is the largest independent tire and automotive services retailer in the United States, operating over 600 stores with more than 7,000 employees. Tire Kingdom also does business under the names National Tire & Battery (NTB) and Merchant’s Tire & Auto Centers.

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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 60,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College’s Web site,