NHADA Jun 26, 2019 9:00:49 AM 7 min read

Business leaders and NCC Industry & Transportation department create labor pipeline

Nashua, NH - Nashua Community College and business leadership have developed a strong collaboration over the years to prepare students with the skills employers need to fill entry-level positions.

“We work closely with independent and dealership body shops in the area,” said Karl Wunderlich, program coordinator and professor in the collision repair technology program at NCC. Wunderlich leads the industry and transportation department at NCC, overseeing the automotive, Honda PACT, and aviation technology in addition to collision repair technology.

To keep pace with workforce needs, collision repair has a team of nearly 20 advisory board members from across the auto body industry. “I had my own shop for 10 years, and I know the people and suppliers in the industry, and I think that helps make relationships here. A lot of the shops we work with hire our graduates, and some are run by our graduates,” said Wunderlich. Alumni often return to the program for employees.

The 2019 class of collision repair students completed the program in just two years, with graduates now employed at Toof Auto Body and Gate City Collision. Recent Honda PACT graduates scattered across the region, launching careers at Ron Bouchard Honda, Commonwealth Honda, Atamian Honda, Peters Honda, Sunnyside Acura, Autofair Honda, Acura of Peabody, Grappone Honda, and Honda of Keene.

Members of the NH Auto Dealers Association (NHADA) serve on the collision repair technology board, and Wunderlich in turn has served on their NH Automotive Education Foundation (NHAEF), for the past 10 years. NHADA connects high schoolers with college programs, and provides generous scholarship support for students preparing to enter the industry. The collaboration of NHADA, advisory board members, and NCC begin a pathway at the high school level that ends with a lucrative career in the industry.

Automotive Technology graduate Olivia Adams began earning college credits through Running Start at ConVal high school before coming to NCC. Olivia excelled in the Auto Tech program, and for the final project, she was able to repair her family’s tractor, and took a victory lap around NCC.

“There’s a lot of opportunity. It’s not just working on new cars - it is working on new cars, old cars, insurance work, working with paint companies - there’s a lot of opportunity,” said Wunderlich. 

This fall, the Honda PACT program has reorganized its curriculum so students can complete the degree in four semesters as opposed to taking summer classes. Automotive Technology has also restructured its courses to better align with up and coming technology. Looking ahead to the future, automotive and collision repair technology will be instituting a work coop but, projected to launch in fall 2020.

Questions? Contact admissions for more information at 603.578.8908, or nashua@ccsnh.edu. Learn more about the industry and transportation programs in person by signing up for an information session on campus at nashuacc.edu/admissions/information-sessions.

About Nashua Community College

Since 1970, Nashua Community College has been successfully meeting the educational needs of the Greater Nashua area through providing a high quality two-year, post-secondary education. The college partners closely with area industries that provide students with a unique perspective in their fields of study, allowing for a real-world experience to further their academic journey. Students can choose from a variety of associate degree and certificate programs, with many courses now offered online. Nashua Community College is a member of the Community College System of New Hampshire. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65 percent of New Hampshire citizens to have some form of postsecondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands. 

The New Hampshire Automotive Education Foundation (NHAEF), in conjunction with the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association (NHADA), offers scholarships for New Hampshire students pursuing a career in Automotive Technology at any of the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) Automotive Technology programs: White Mountains Community College (WMCC), Lakes Region Community College (LRCC), Manchester Community College (MCC), Nashua Community College (NCC), and Great Bay Community College (GBCC).

About the NHADA Foundation

The NHADA Foundation works to strengthen the level of automotive technology education in New Hampshire by providing a link between the dealer community and local high school automotive programs. This partnership facilitates scholarship programs, tool and equipment donations, job shadowing, and part-time and full-time work opportunities. In addition, the Education Foundation assists high school Automotive Technology programs in achieving NATEF and AYES national industry certifications.

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To improve members' productivity, profit, and professionalism through a better-educated and well-trained workforce. Over the years, the NHADA Foundation has forged strong partnerships between the retail motor vehicle industry, the state's educational institutions and motor vehicle manufacturers.