The Automotive program at SPSCC completed their quarterly “Lights On” customer service event aimed at the public. Automotive students work on vehicles for optional cash or food donations.
“This event is a great opportunity for people to get inexpensive safety inspections and oil changes,” said Automotive Club President Cierra Thomas. During “this event, we provided 23 customers from the community with inspections for their car.”
The “Lights On” event is typically held the third Thursday of every quarter, except summer, and accepts food donations for the Thurston County Food Bank.
Besides the Automotive Club, the college also has an automotive certificate program where the public can bring in their cars for any necessary repairs. “People usually bring us their cars because of our discounted prices,” said Automotive Club Treasurer Rory Summerson.
“After we inspect the vehicle, we determine what the average time for repairs in a normal shop would be because we are students learning and repairs usually take longer. But we only charge $25 per hour based on average results,” Summerson continued. There is a 30 percent additional cost for part purchase, and a 4 percent charge for hazardous waste disposal that is added on to the $25.
“Customers who take their car to a regular shop usually pay $150 per hour for labor, and $50 to $60 for an oil change, so it is really beneficial for both them and us because we get hands on experience to learn from,” said Summerson.
Students who are involved in this program are usually working towards their Automotive associate in applied science degree, and begin with classes such as Auto 100.
“Auto 100 doesn’t require a prerequisite, it is a five credit elective introduction to the basic function of cars and general shop operations, ” said Steve McRavin, automotive instructor and director of recruitment and testing. He is also the Automotive Club advisor.
“We sometimes feel that there is some misconception about our program itself being adverse to diverse groups,” Summerson expressed when commenting on the diversity of the program, “…that we hold women to a separate standard, or any other person from another background differently, but we believe that diversity is needed to ensure our well rounded workforce.” Summerson hopes that the future of the program will be looked at as one that “takes pride in its members, regardless of their backgrounds or past experience.”
The Automotive Club meets Thursdays at 11:30 a.m and 5:30 p.m. in Building 16, room 117.
If you are interested in having your car repaired by SPSCC student technicians, contact Larry Norris at 360-596-5320 or stop by the customer service wing in Building 16.