Under the hood of CCC’s auto repair program


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Instructor helping students rebuild transmissions, Photo by Jackson Arterberry


By Gabriel Elmosleh

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College students, like many people these days, don’t have a lot of money to spend and don’t always have the best vehicles. However, Clackamas Community College does have a state of the art training program for mechanics that can benefit students and others with broken-down cars and not a lot of cash.

The CCC Auto Body Collision Repair/Refinishing and Auto Service Technology programs are seeking applications for vehicle repairs for student mechanics to work on.

The automotive program at CCC has been around since the school first opened in 1966. Close collaboration and advisory meetings with community businesses and industry partners are held, where they’re invited to help and contribute to the class through sponsorships. In exchange many students in the program do internships and learn skills that stick with them even after they leave the classroom.

“We have people who started out in automotive that have become CEOs in larger scale companies in the transportation industry, franchise owners with a chain of automotive shops, parts professionals, and even insurance agents.” Said Wryann Van Riper, an instructor for the program.

There are requirements for cars being selected for the program. It cannot be more than 15 years old, repairs must meet the training needs of the specific teachers, no written or oral repair estimates can be made by any local shops, no payment for repairs or in-lieu-of repairs could have been made by any insurance company, all replacement parts must be purchased through the college and once the repairs have begun the car cannot leave the shop until they’re finished.

However, in exchange for those stipulations, volunteers can expect relatively cheap prices to repair their automobiles since the price of tools and oil/hazardous waste caps at $15.

Transparency between the college and car owners is prioritized. Students are required to fill out work orders to document their progress. Then, work orders are analyzed by the teaching staff to make sure the student’s work has been adequate. Collaboration between students and faculty is what allows the program to be successful.

“If it seems like students are having trouble with a certain area,” Van Riper said, “We communicate that amongst each other and try to strengthen that area of weakness.”

In order to submit a car for automotive repair, you’ll need to fill out the application here.

Gabriel Elmosleh