A new initiative at Bronx Community College will allow student mechanics to jump start their careers.
BCC, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and BRAM Auto Group announced a partnership at a press conference at the college on Friday, December 19.
BRAM Auto Group, which operates 18 car dealerships in the region, will place students from BCC’s automotive technology program into paid internships at five of their locations.
The internships will allow the students to gain important real world experience that will supplement the skills students learn in the auto tech labs, said BCC’s interim president, Eduardo J. Martí.
Martí said the arrangement would provide important opportunities for students while creating a skilled workforce in the borough. He praised the collaboration as an excellent example of private-public partnerships.
“We want to be a real important cog in the wheel of economic development in the Bronx,” said Martí about the college.
Bronx Chamber of Commerce president Lenny Caro believes the college can do just that.
He pointed out that auto mechanic jobs pay well, often starting above $30,000 and ranging up to $70,000.
Meanwhile, the courses and internships will prepare students for a career in where there exists a true need.
“Our cities have been built on trades,” said Caro. “And right now this trade is important.”
Another strength of the auto tech program is that it is very accessible, said program director Clement Drummond. CUNY tuition is affordable for both two-year degrees and one-year certificate programs, he said, and the program has no prerequisites besides a high school diploma or G.E.D.
“You don’t have to know anything about cars to study here,” said Drummond. “All you need is the desire and dedication to learn.”
Some of Drummond’s students have already participated in internships with BRAM dealerships, and more are scheduled to start this spring.
One of the students, Daniela Borda, started interning with one of BRAM’s Toyota dealerships last spring, was hired on to work through the summer and continues to work for them around her classes. She feels the hands-on experience and industry references will give BCC students an advantage when job hunting.
“Not a lot of dealers would hire a mechanic with no experience,” said Borda. “It gives us more confidence and allows us to prove ourselves to a dealer.”