July 16, 2015

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JAMESTOWN, N.C. – Guilford Technical Community College will host a free open house for its Automotive Systems Technology and Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology programs 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 at the Transportation Complex (Auto/Diesel Building), room 118, Jamestown Campus, 601 E. Main St., Jamestown.

Visitors will have an opportunity to speak one-on-one with faculty and current students, learn more about the program and potential career paths, and experience hands-on demonstrations. Representatives from Admissions and Financial Aid will be available to help students apply for the fall semester and file for financial aid. Day and evening classes are available in both programs.

The Automotive and Diesel programs feature hands-on student learning. A variety of vehicles are used on a daily basis to give students the opportunity to experience real-world working environments. The cost for an associate degree in an automotive program is approximately $8,000.


GTCC’s Diesel and Heavy Equipment Technology program prepares individuals for employment as technicians in diesel-powered medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The one-year diploma program consists of three semesters designed to equip students with basic knowledge and skills to enter the workforce quickly upon completing the program.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for diesel service technicians and mechanics is $42,320, and its employment is projected to grow 9 percent by 2022. Diesel and heavy equipment technicians are becoming high in-demand as shipping across the country grows and current workers retire. Qualified technicians are needed to fill the demand.

“It is a chore to find qualified technicians,” said Tommy Wilson, Greensboro shop manager at Epes Transport System, Inc. “With the amount of technologies going into trucking in general, it’s a very daunting task to have somebody primed and ready to go and move into an open position.

“We’ve had a long-standing partnership with GTCC. We’ve had guys who have been here 17 years who have come out of that program.”

Epes currently employs 25 diesel technicians — five of those are graduates of GTCC’s Diesel program. With trucking being a key industry in N.C. and the country, Wilson says diesel technicians will always be in demand.

“Trucking is extremely necessary, so there’s always a need,” Wilson said. “It’s very gratifying to fix something with your own hands, to figure something out with your own set of skills. It’s cutting-edge technology that you’re dealing with.”

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The Automotive Systems Technology program trains individuals for employment as entry-level transportation service technicians. Students learn how to repair, service and maintain a variety of automobiles. A two-year degree and various certificates are offered.

The program also features a Ford Option and GM Option in which students can earn a paycheck while they learn through a cooperative experience. Students alternate between classroom and on-site work to become a Ford or GM-trained automotive technician and obtain Ford or GM credentials required by their employer. GTCC offers the only Ford ASSET program in N.C., and its GM ASEP program is one of only three in the state. Upon graduation, students in the Ford and GM programs will have full-time employment.

“Upon completion of the ASEP program, we have technicians that are ready to go to work for us full time,” said Ben Vance, service manager of Bill Black Chevrolet Cadillac, Inc. in Greensboro. “We have had a good success rate with the GM ASEP graduates.”

Out of the 19 technicians currently employed at Bill Black Chevrolet Cadillac, 12 of them have been through the ASEP program, he says. Vance graduated from GTCC’s GM ASEP program in 2002 and worked as a technician through 2012 when he was offered the position of assistant service manager. A year later, he was promoted to service manager.

“While the program is geared toward the technical side, one’s potential is not limited to one position in the dealership,” he said.

Entry-level automotive technicians can earn approximately $40,000 a year – and up to $66,000 depending on the area of industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for automotive technicians is expected to grow 9 percent by 2022.

For more information about GTCC’s Automotive or Diesel programs, contact Jeff Faircloth, department chair of Automotive and Diesel, at (336) 334-4822 ext. 50184 or

Guilford Technical Community College is the third largest of 58 institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. GTCC serves more than 40,000 students annually from five campuses and a Small Business Center. Learn more at


— Carla Kucinski/GTCC


What: Automotive and Diesel Open House

 When: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 28

 Where: Transportation Complex, Auto/Diesel Building, room 118, Jamestown Campus, 601 E. Main St., Jamestown

Information: Contact Jeff Faircloth, department chair of Automotive and Diesel, at (336) 334-4822 ext. 50184 or