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Nissan vehicle donation to enhance student training

Tidewater Community College’s Automotive Technology program got a boost this week thanks to Nissan North America.

Nissan donated 10 late-model vehicles to the college’s general automotive program to enhance student training. The donated vehicles include sedans, SUVs and even a 370Z sports car.

Nissan donated ten vehicles that will be used for students to train on.

“We’re thrilled by this donation that includes a hybrid Pathfinder, a diesel Titan XD and eight other well-kept vehicles,” said Beno Rubin, pathway dean for Manufacturing and Transportation at the college. “These vehicles will enhance student learning and ensure they are prepared to enter the automotive repair industry.”

The 10 Nissan vehicles are welcome additions to the Regional Automotive Center’s fleet of vehicles that includes Toyotas, Hondas, Subarus, Fords, Jeeps and Chryslers.

“Today’s technicians are highly trained on computers, mechanics and problem-solving skills,” said Harry Brown, fixed operations manager for Nissan North America. “And with the extreme shortage of trained techs, we are grateful for the opportunity to supply these vehicles and assist in training the next generation of technicians.”

Training vehicles includes SUVs, trucks and cars and even a diesel and a hybrid vehicle.

Stuart Mitcheison, TCC’s lead instructor for the general automotive program has been working as an automotive technician for three decades. He spent 23 years as a master technician for Nissan. In addition, for more than a decade he’s shared his knowledge with future technicians, first as a part-time instructor and now as a full-time faculty lead.

“This donation is a great boost for our general automotive program,” Mitcheison said. “With the variety of different vehicles and engines, these newer vehicles will greatly enhance the student’s experience at the college.”

Dan Bannister, owner of Bannister Nissan in Chesapeake and Norfolk said, “It’s awesome that Nissan is participating in this way. It’s phenomenal to be able to hire technicians trained on our vehicles by a master technician with decades of experience.”

TCC’s automotive technology program, accredited by the Automotive Service Excellence Education Foundation, prepares students for work in the field and provides updated training for those already working. Students learn general automotive repair, servicing and diagnostics.

The Regional Automotive Center in Chesapeake has nine classrooms and 15 instructional bays.

“My favorite things about teaching are those aha moments when students put things together and just get it,” Mitcheison added.

TCC’s Regional Automotive Center is a 30,000-square-foot facility located at 600 Innovation Drive in Chesapeake. The center has nine classrooms and 15 instructional laboratories; a four-wheel chassis dynamometer, diagnostic scan tools, three alignment machines, and all of the necessary tools and equipment to deliver instruction. Students are trained on the latest equipment at the forefront of industry trends.

“We are thrilled to be able to continue to build a relationship with TCC to help our dealerships,” added Peter Rusin, district technical service manager with Nissan North America. “We see this as a win-win for all of us.”

To learn more about TCC’s Automotive Technology programs, email or call 757-822-5000.

Inside the RAC: Toyota T-TEN

Walk into Tidewater Community College’s Regional Automotive Center and you’ll see highly polished floors and new vehicles on display.

But don’t let the quiet lobby fool you.

Step into one of the 15 instructional laboratory bays and you’ll hear a cacophony from impact guns, wrenches and other machinery mixed with the hum of student and instructor voices.

Inside this Toyota lab, students were servicing front disc brakes and using the on-car brake lathe to repair rotors.

Toyota T-TEN students earn an associate degrees in  automotive technology, along with certificates in chassis systems, engine performance, powertrains and electronics. As important as the academic degrees are to advancing, the ability to do the job from day one gives RAC students a real advantage.

Not surprisingly, after just one semester at the college, every student in class works a paid, entry-level position at a Toyota dealership.

Students get hands-on training in the Toyota program at TCC’s Regional Automotive Center.

“I got hired because of my time at TCC,” said Chris Rogue who works at Checked Flag Toyota. “Everything we’re learning can be immediately used in the field.”

Jaiden Jenkins, recently hired by Casey Toyota, enjoys using the vehicle computer systems to diagnose any problem agrees. “The benefits and pay are good, and the more you learn, and the more credentials you have, the more you earn,” he said.

Toyota students learn on newer Toyota vehicles and use tools and online repair guides provided by the manufacturer.

Instructor Darryl Parker works with a student in the Toyota program.

“I like that our instructor is involved in every step of the hands-on work. He makes sure we’re learning proper techniques and doing everything to industry standards,” said Zachary Clark, who works at Priority Toyota.

“My favorite thing has been taking apart an engine and then putting it back together,” said Sawyer Matthews who works at Charles Barker Toyota. “This program helps us learn the skills we need to become master technicians.”

TCC’s technologically advanced automotive curriculum is based on the Master Automotive Service Technology standards set forth by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation.

TCC is one of 38 schools nationwide that provide Toyota-specific training. The RAC also offers manufacturer programs for Ford, Honda, Chrysler and Subaru.

Step inside and see for yourself. Interested in exploring the career options at the RAC? Call 757-822-5000 to schedule a tour and for more information.