Valley Voices

My car is making this funny noise ...

Jim Makofske
Jim Makofske

Ever had your car make funny noises? The sounds were suspicious? Has your car refused to start, or worse yet, just plain quit in traffic? Probably most of us had this experience.

Just who, exactly, drives a car in California these days? Everyone!

The next big question is what to do about it. Where do we take our autos in for repairs or maintenance service? How many times have you asked your friends, “Do you know a good mechanic?”

I can’t give you advice on that, but I can tell you we are training the next generation of auto technicians. Our industrious group of men and women embark on a two-year program leading to an associate’s degree in automotive technology.

My experience is that most career fields require some sort of certification, usually completing an exam or course of some kind. These days it seems everyone needs some minimal level of marketable skills. I harp on this in my accounting and information technology classes: Get certified!

The U.S. Department of Labor forecasts an acute shortage of auto technicians for the next decade. We are experiencing that shortage in the Valley, and doing something about it.

The Fresno City College automotive program is a quality, innovative educational program that provides the most up-to-date training to students. The automotive program is National Automotive Technician Education Foundation-certified and led by my good friend and colleague department chairman Marty Kamimoto.

NATEF is a nationally recognized certification for schools. This certification requires the automotive department to have the latest tools and equipment for student training. We also have the latest lab (class) vehicles that students work on and instructors with the most current training. This combination will assist the students in obtaining the skills needed to begin a career of lifelong learning as an automotive service technician.

The Fresno City College General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program is a 24-month/six semester associate in science degree that was founded in 1978 by the General Motors Corp.

GM ASEP is an innovative educational program designed to train students to start as an entry-level service technician to begin a career of lifelong learning with the ability to become a certified intermediate to advanced level service technician.

We at Fresno City College have been successfully meeting the needs and requirements of students and the Central Valley GM dealerships and AC Delco professional service centers community for the past 22 years. Students receive comprehensive training in GM vehicles and systems utilizing state-of-the-art tools and equipment.

The program prepares students for work in GM dealerships/fleets by awarding nationally recognized GM ASEP certification. The courses provide students with basic and advanced knowledge to meet the requirements for the associate’s degree, and fulfill undergraduate general education requirements for a four-year institution.

Fresno City College’s GM ASEP program is the most comprehensive in the Central Valley, giving students a broad base of bumper-to-bumper experience and knowledge. Our program also offers a GM technician certificate to be offered concurrently with the associate in science degree track students.

The FCC automotive technology curriculum is designed with 25 percent lecture and 75 percent laboratory. This lecture-to-laboratory ratio enhances student learning in the shop/laboratory environment designed to make our students more efficient and productive at their sponsoring service facilities.

Our annual enrollments are over 460 students per year. The success and retention rates have ranged from 94.7 percent to 100 percent. Student job placement is approximately 96 percent annually at our Central Valley automobile service facilities.

In service to our community, the auto-tech students offer a free smog check clinic at least once a semester to check compliance with the smog laws. In cooperation with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, vouchers of up to $500 are given to failing autos to assist with necessary repairs.

Salaries and benefits out there are competitive. The typical entering student is a high school graduate from the Valley. Graduates, both men and women, are placed in all categories of automotive service, with general automotive repair being the choice of half our graduates. Good news if you want your car fixed!

If you are looking for a better future, call us for more information at 559-442-4600. We are here to serve you, the community. See you in class!

Jim Makofske is an instructor at Fresno City College in accounting and information technology. He is in his 28th year of service and has developed, written and instructed several new classes in both disciplines. He is completing requirements for his doctorate in business administration and is a retired U. S. Navy Reserve captain and commanding officer. He can be reached at