Transportation  April 16, 2024

Aims to launch automotive degree program in fall

WINDSOR – Aims Community College this fall will launch a program for students looking for careers in the automotive industry.

The Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) program is designed for students interested in beginning their careers at a Ford or Lincoln dealership. Aims’ program is the 41st Ford ASSET program in the country and the only one in Colorado.

Larry Baker, who chairs Aims’ automotive programs, said he sees the partnership between Aims and Ford as a win-win.

“It’s a way for Ford to get more trained technicians in their door,” Baker said. “There’s been a shortage of automotive technicians, and all of the manufacturers are struggling to find people. Ford actually has come up with a pretty neat collaboration with schools.”

The ASSET program is a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program using a curriculum designed by Ford and Aims. The ASSET curriculum alternates classroom and lab instruction with work experience. Each semester, students will spend eight weeks at the Aims Automotive & Technology Center in Windsor. Then, they will leave the classroom for eight weeks of paid internship at a local Ford dealership.

Over a two-year period, an ASSET student will earn the following Ford certifications: steering and suspension, electrical systems, climate control, manual transmission, automatic transmission, brake systems, diesel engine repair and performance, and gasoline engine repair and performance.

In addition to the Ford certifications, ASSET students will earn their degrees, have one year of work experience at a Ford or Lincoln dealership, and be trained on the latest Ford vehicles and service procedures.

The program at Aims is the first school to have an all-female instructional team. Valeska Howton will be the lead instructor, and Allie Bowen will be the program’s secondary instructor. Both are graduates of the Aims automotive program and were called to teach others the skills they have learned.

“I have a passion for working with vehicles,” Howton said. She said she has learned how to “keep up with guys” with decades of experience in a male-dominated field. “I always let my work create my reputation,” she said. “To step into this role, I feel really proud.”

Howton has always been a Ford fan and owns a few herself. Aside from personal preference, she sees the direct connection with the dealerships as a major benefit of the program. 

“Through the Ford ASSET Program, Aims is poised to contribute knowledgeable, proficient and readily employable talents to the automotive workforce,” Leah L. Bornstein, Aims Community College CEO and president, said in a prepared statement. “Gaining that hands-on experience that makes them industry-ready, almost from day one.”

The Aims Board of Trustees approved moving forward with this program in December. “With our board’s overwhelming approval of the Ford ASSET program, we send a clear message: We are dedicated to providing students with a competitive edge,” said Marilyn Schock, chair of the Aims Board of Trustees.

Founded more than 50 years ago in Greeley, Aims has since established locations in Fort Lupton, Loveland and Windsor. Curriculum now includes 4,000 day, evening, weekend and online courses annually in more than 200 degree and certificate programs.

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