Clark is home base to special General Motors training
New satellite training site for the entire Pacific Northwest region
When Chevy Bolt owners take their electric cars to a Pacific Northwest General Motors dealership for permanent repair of a recent battery recall, their cars will be fixed by mechanics trained at Clark College. GM’s new satellite training site for the entire Pacific Northwest region is now located at Clark College.
Clark officials say this agreement has benefits for Clark.
“It’s an opportunity to highlight our programs and facilities,” said Armetta Burney, interim dean of workforce, technical and professional education at Clark. “Word will spread about our facilities and programs—to family members, to coworkers—because we’re getting people from the automotive industry in the door and showing them our state-of-the-art facilities.”
According to a new agreement, GM will pay Clark to use some of its automotive facility to provide technical training to its employees. GM is training its technicians to address a battery issue that the company says caused 18 fires. Two GM training sessions have already taken place at Clark and another is scheduled for the first week in May.
GM has six regional training centers and 25 satellite training sites across the country. The nearest one to Washington is in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Clark is in the process of hiring an instructor who will receive special training from GM and then run the training sessions for GM technicians. Although the instructor will be an employee of Clark, these GM training sessions will operate separately from the Clark automotive department’s other activities because the GM training is for incumbent GM employees rather than Clark students.
However, having the training at Clark gives students an advantage.
Mike Godson, professor of automotive at Clark, said the college has other agreements with Toyota, Honda, Audi and Dick Hannah dealerships. Those
agreements benefit students in numerous ways, from employment opportunities to access to specialized technology. For example, the automotive department at Clark houses 40 to 50 vehicles manufactured in the last 10 years, thanks to those partnerships.
“Clark College doesn’t own those vehicles,” Godson said, “but students still have access to them.”
That’s over $1 million in vehicles. The auto companies also provide diagnostic equipment and other technology that the college couldn’t access without these agreements. In return, Clark helps train future employees of these companies.
By housing the GM satellite training site, Clark is further supporting local car dealerships, Godson added.
And there’s another benefit to being a GM satellite training site: it’s a badge of honor. “It shows,” Godson said, “that we’re developing a strong reputation for quality automotive training.”
Story by Lily Raff McCaulou