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Paid Work Experience

Automotive Technology at Columbus State
To complete the ASSET program, a student must be employed by a sponsoring Ford or Lincoln dealer. The dealership service department provides work experience under the guidance of an experienced technician during the Paid Cooperative Work Experience.  We help you connect with a dealership in which you can learn and grow and become part of their team.

To obtain a sponsor:

  • Complete the FORD Maintenance and Light Repair section of the program.
  • Contact the Ford ASSET Coordinator for a pre-sponsorship interview.
  • Prepare resume so that the coordinator can send it to prospective dealers.
  • The Coordinator will contact dealers to obtain interview opportunities.
  • The student must then interview with prospective dealers.

When choosing a dealer, the student needs to consider the long-term goals he/she has. The dealer is part of this program because he/she wants to “grow their own” technicians. The dealer wants a well-trained entry-level technician by the end of the program that is willing to work for them long-term. Although there is no legal contract that requires you to stay with the dealer, it is best for the student, the dealer and future students in the ASSET program when a long-term relationship exists. The dealer will spend a lot of time, energy, and money to train the student. Obviously, he/she needs to realize a return on that investment. Carefully choosing the dealer ahead of time helps to develop a good long-term relationship with the sponsoring dealership.

Automotive Technology at Columbus StateCooperative Work Experience

The Cooperative Work Experience (Co-op) is the ingredient that makes ASSET work so well. After some on-campus course work (see Plan of Study), the student goes to the sponsoring dealer for real-world work experience. An experienced technician is assigned the task of mentoring the student. He/she gives the student vehicles to diagnose and repair under his/her supervision. The “lead-tech” is responsible for assigning the correct type of work, verifying the student’s diagnosis, and then checking the completed repairs before the vehicle leaves the dealership.

The customer vehicle concerns scheduled into the dealership each day ultimately determines the type of work that is assigned to the student. The lead-tech is encouraged to assign the type of work that will reinforce what was taught during the previous term. The goal is to have the student working on those previous term skills at least 60% of the time. The remainder of the time can be skills learned earlier in the program or can even be vehicles or systems that the student is not familiar with yet. Obviously, close supervision by the lead-tech is required in this case.

The student is required to maintain a logbook during the co-op session. In this book, he/she will track work hours and attendance, the tasks he/she has accomplished, and the vehicles that he/she has worked on. The purpose of the logbook is to help the student determine his/her own progress in skill development and productivity.

The instructor will visit the student at the dealership 2 or 3 times during the co-op term. The purpose of the visit is to evaluate the progress of the student and to insure that the co-op experience is going well. The instructor will check the logbook and discuss the student’s progress at school and work with the service manager and the lead-tech. All parties will meet to discuss any progress or concerns and determine any corrective action that might be necessary.

Automotive Technology at Columbus State

The student is paid during the co-op term. The dealer provides uniforms in accordance with dealership policy. The student is an employee of the dealership and must be a productive and cooperative employee, following all dealership policies and procedures. It is important for the student to understand that each dealership is privately owned and operated by individuals that are not employed by Ford Motor Company. Therefore, each dealership reserves the right to conduct co-op experiences in a way that is beneficial to the dealership. The process described above is highly suggested but is not made mandatory by Ford Motor Company or Columbus State.

Work Outside of the Official Co-op

The official co-op experience starts on the first day of the 8-week co-op term and ends on the last day week eight. Students usually elect to work during non-co-op times as well. This is encouraged as long as the extra work does not interfere with progress in classes at the college. During a full-time on-campus term, the student is highly encouraged not to work any more than 20 hours per week. The work assigned during non-co-op times is determined by the dealership. The dealership is not required to have the student assigned to a lead-tech and is not required to have him/her working on tasks listed in the logbook.

Recommended Pay During Co-op

The local Ford ASSET Advisory Committee is responsible for establishing guidelines for the participating dealers in regard to starting pay rates and merit increases for ASSET students. Most dealers follow these guidelines but are not mandated to do so.

Currently in the Columbus Metro area, the recommended starting wage is $11.00 per hour. Merit raises at the beginning of subsequent co-op sessions are based on the student’s ability as well as progress in the following:

  • Attendance
  • Completion of Web-Based Courses
  • STST Course Certification Status
  • Academic Progress (grades and course completion)

Automotive Technology at Columbus State