The Automotive Program at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria Campus recently received a grant from the NVCC Educational Foundation. The program received $1,825 that will go toward car batteries, supplies, tools and other components necessary to train and prepare students for the automotive industry.
Keith Brown, head of NOVA-Alexandria’s General Motors Automotive Service Education Program (GM ASEP), said the main issue they have with the cars they use to train students is the battery. With the technology included in newer model cars, a dead battery can render a car almost inoperable and they constantly have to switch out the batteries.
“These cars sit here for a very long time and we use them to train students. Sometimes, things get left on and we try to keep them charged,” Brown said. “But over time, there’s wear and tear. It’s a consumable item that would normally last 3-5 years. With us using them and training students on them, we might get a year out of the batteries. Getting the grant money is a huge benefit and a big help so we’re able to purchase batteries for a lot of these cars. It’s more than just pencil and paper in this program, so the grant money was really helpful in making sure we have what we need to help our students.”
The program purchased the batteries they needed to continue their training from Fairfax Auto Parts NAPA in Springfield. Brown said he and the other faculty and staff are grateful for NAPA and their assistance because they worked with NOVA to get them the best pricing.
The NOVA Automotive Program – which has available classes at Alexandria and Manassas – has had a partnership with GM since 1982. Since then, NOVA has graduated more than 700 students from the program with 12 recently graduating in spring 2017. Through the partnership, GM often makes vehicle donations to the Automotive Program so students can have cars to use for training during classes at NOVA. In May 2017, GM donated a red 2015 Corvette to the NOVA-Alexandria Automotive Program.
The NVCC Educational Foundation was established in 1979 in an effort to raise private financial support to augment programs and existing services to attract funds to develop new courses and programs. Funds are used to provide various types of support including scholarships, faculty development, program support and capital needs.
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