Columbia College Awarded $960,000 State Grant for Automotive Technology and Child Development Apprenticeship Initiatives

Columbia College has received formal notification of the intent to award a two-year grant to develop new Apprenticeship programs for Automotive Technology and Child Development training, beginning in January 2017. Columbia College is currently implementing a Hospitality Apprenticeship Initiative with similar grant funding and is excited about expanding opportunities to other industries that are in need of a well trained workforce.  Applications for the Hospitality apprenticeship program are still being accepted.

The new award, just announced by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Workforce and Development Division, is part of the new California Apprenticeship Initiative, aimed at broadening the range of apprenticeship programs available to California workers.

Columbia College President Dr. Angela Fairchilds expressed her gratitude “We are honored that our small, rural college has once again submitted a successful proposal in a statewide grant competition and appreciate the recognition by the state Chancellor’s Office of the demonstrated need for workforce training opportunities in the Motherlode region.”

The grant will fund the development of the Columbia College Automotive Technology and Child Development Initiatives, two pilot projects that will give up to 48 students the opportunity to “earn while they learn” at partnering Automotive businesses and Child Development programs. Designed with input from the sponsoring employers, the program is modeled on European apprenticeships, blending classroom instruction and on-the-job training in a compressed two-year program.

The college will receive $960,000 over two years to implement the curriculum, receive approval of the apprenticeships through state and federal Division of Apprentice Standards, enroll students, and launch the training at partnering work sites.

Debra Cruz, owner of NAPA Auto Parts – Debco Automotive Supply, Inc., shared “Our business has an aging workforce and it is hard to find qualified applicants. We would be extremely interested in having access to this type of program as we can see a need and benefit for both the community and our business.”

Marcia Williams, Early Childhood Services Director for the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency, states “For the past several years, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties have been experiencing a severe shortage of qualified preschool and infant toddler teachers. This shortage is causing us to reduce the number of children that can be served through our programs, leaving some of our most vulnerable children without adequate preparation for school.”

Along with other potential Automotive Technology and Child Development partners in our community, the following agencies have expressed support: Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority, Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools, Mother Lode Job Training and the Motherlode Workforce Investment Board.

Dr. Klaus Tenbergen, Dean of Career Technical Education and Economic Development, will oversee development and implementation of these new apprenticeships starting in early 2017.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with local employers to develop a skilled and educated workforce for both the Automotive Technology and Child Development industries,” Tenbergen said.

Apprentices will rotate through different professional areas at partnering sites over an 18-24 month period, receiving comprehensive training in a range of activities associated with each industry. Training in customer service and other “soft skills” will be incorporated throughout. Apprentices will complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of employer-paid on-the-job training, while completing 288 instructional hours as college students. Once students complete the Initiative components as described, they will be Registered Certified Apprentices through the Department of Apprenticeship Standards. If students desire, they may continue with additional coursework to complete an Associate’s degree.

Automotive Technology and Child Development businesses who may be interested in partnering with Columbia College are encouraged to contact Tenbergen to be included in upcoming planning meetings scheduled for late January.


For more information, contact:

Dr. Klaus Tenbergen

Dean of Career Technical Education & Economic Development

Office: 209.588.5142

Cell: 559.994.6434