Combination of Knowledgeable Instructors, New Facilities and Key Partnerships Is Second to None
With a brand new training facility, top-notch instructors and partnerships with Snap-on Tools and Petty’s Garage, there’s never been a better time than now to prepare for an automotive service career through Pitt Community College.
After years of operating in the tight quarters of what was essentially a one-bay automotive shop, PCC opened a brand new Construction and Industrial Technology Building in May 2012. The 58,000-square-foot, state-of-art training facility houses the college’s building construction and automotive systems technology programs.
For automotive students, the $10.2 million-CIT Building offers a total of 18 vehicle bays in three large shops—each dedicated to a specific area of automotive service training and equipped with the latest and most advanced technology from Snap-on Tools.
“The combination of our training facilities, equipment and partnerships with key players in the automotive service industry have enhanced the learning process for our students and allows our ASE Master-certified instructors to work more one-on-one with them,” says Norman Lilley, PCC Automotive Systems Technology Department chair. “Add in our low-cost tuition and I can honestly say that Pitt Community College offers an educational experience for automotive students that is second to none.”
Lilley said the importance of Pitt’s partnership with Snap-on could not be overstated. He noted that PCC is one of few Snap-on certification centers in North Carolina and that his students can attain various certifications from Snap-On while they are working toward their associate degrees, which can be completed in two years (five semesters).
“Snap-on has really stepped to the plate to help PCC and other colleges around the world get the equipment needed to train tomorrow’s workforce and produce qualified technicians who have the knowledge and skill to work on automobiles proficiently,” Lilley said.
Just when the automotive systems program looked as if it couldn’t get any better, PCC signed a two-year agreement in the fall of 2012 to become an “education affiliate” of Petty’s Garage, LLC, which is owned by NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Richard Petty.
Located in Randleman, Petty’s Garage is Richard Petty’s high-performance speed shop that enhances vehicle performance and appearance through customization. The company’s facility once housed the legendary stock car driver’s race shop, which rolled out winning cars for more than 60 years.
Though the Pettys have been producing performance vehicles since 1949, Petty’s Garage was established in 2008 to begin restorations on race car chassis from Richard Petty’s private collection. The shop features all of the elements that go into creating a performance automobile, and all of the work is done in-house, including heavy fabrication, roll cages, custom floor pans and custom painting.
PCC’s agreement with Petty calls for annual student and instructor tours of the Petty’s Garage facility. It also includes job-shadowing opportunities for a select group of PCC students each year to observe Petty’s Garage employees for a week and see firsthand how the shop operates.
Lilley says Pitt’s partnership with Petty is just one example of his program’s commitment to continually seeking ways to enhance instruction for students.
“We want to form partnerships with companies like Snap-on and Petty’s Garage that will lead to unique educational opportunities for our students,” he said. “I’m excited about those relationships and feel they have the potential to help our students develop skills they wouldn’t have a chance to learn any other way.”
Lilley said that in addition to automotive systems students, those from the college’s welding and machining programs would also benefit from the partnership as will Business Division students studying marketing and retailing.
Per its partnership with PCC, Petty’s Garage has agreed to accept applications from Pitt students for job opportunities that become available during the term of the agreement. The company will also present scholarships to PCC students each year of the agreement.