Arapahoe Community College’s Automotive Program is Named Best in the Nation for 2011

(May 18, 2011 – Littleton,
Colorado) - Arapahoe Community College’s (ACC) Automotive Technology program was
recognized today with the 2011 Tomorrow’s Technician School of the Year
by WIX Filters, Chicago Pneumatic and Waterloo Industries.

According to contest judges,
ACC’s professional setting, emphasis on education and opportunities for
students, proved to be the winning formula in selecting its automotive program
as tops in the nation.

This is the
fourth-consecutive year for the nationally recognized award in which an
automotive program is crowned for its educational excellence. ACC now joins the
ranks of past School of the Year winners Waubonsee Community College (WCC) in
Sugar Grove, IL, Ohio Technical College (OTC) in Cleveland, OH, and Caddo
Career & Technology Center in Shreveport, LA.

“We are very pleased to
acknowledge the instructors, staff and administrators of Arapahoe Community
College on their achievement of providing top-notch automotive-related
education to its students,” said Jeff Stankard, publisher of Tomorrow’s Technician.

Arapahoe Community College,
which represented Region 1 in School of the Year contest, edged out the
finalists from the three other regions in the country:

  • Region 2:
    Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, Elizabethtown, KY;
  • Region 3: South
    Seattle Community College, Seattle, WA; and
  • Region 4:
    Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH.

To recognize their commitment
to the industry, WIX Filters presented ACC’s auto program with a $5,000 contribution,
as well as wearable items, backpacks and other gifts for each of the automotive
program’s nearly 90 students. Chicago Pneumatic, a manufacturer and distributor
of aftermarket tools, accessories and compressors, provided the winning school
with more than $8,000 worth of tools including various impact wrenches, orbital
sanders, pistol screwdrivers, ratchet sets and more. Waterloo Industries
donated a Traxx brand rolling tool cabinet/chest.

“WIX places a heavy emphasis
on technician education and we are proud to support this special program which
recognizes the best schools in the country,” said Mike Harvey, brand manager
for WIX Filters. “The better education students receive today, the more
valuable they will be as a resource to their customers down the road. It’s very
encouraging to see so many schools, teachers and students share in this

Stankard said each year the
quality of the School of the Year entries continues to rise. “This year’s
contest was the most competitive in terms of school profiles,” Stankard said.
“We see that the level of automotive education programs in this country
continues to improve every year. And, it is our goal that we, along with the
contest’s generous sponsors, highlight the skills and knowledge that the next
generation of automotive service technicians are taking with them into the

While ACC had made it into
the Top 20 in years past, newly added educational programs helped boost the school
in its scoring totals and elevate it to the title of School of the Year.

“Our program has been
involved in this competition for the past four years and we have continually
attempted to improve our program each and every year,” said Jerry Viola, director
of the automotive technology program.

“ACC staff, in working with
its industry advisory committee to develop tomorrow's technicians today reorganized
the automotive program admission requirements and curriculum four years ago to
reflect the needs of the local automotive industry. We collectively felt that
the program needed be geared toward future professional technicians. To do
that, the program had to incorporate general education with formal automotive
training classes and active, hands-on labs with state-of-the-industry
automobiles and tools.”

ACC on the Educational Radar

Tomorrow’s Technician wasn’t the only organization to recognize ACC’s
quality automotive program. The school also received national recognition for
its automotive apprenticeship program from the White House. In April 2010,
educator Dr. Jill Biden, who as Second Lady works to highlight the importance
of community colleges, visited ACC as part of her tour highlighting best
practices in community college education programs. During her visit, she
complimented the college’s automotive program for its innovative approach,
commitment to general education, and putting students to work in a high-demand,
high-paying career within two years of graduation.

“We are very proud of this
distinction, but are even more proud of winning the 2011 School of the Year
award,” said Janna Oakes, Dean of Liberal Arts and Professional programs.
“Jerry Viola’s vision, his commitment to being the best, and his deep personal
commitment to partnerships and relationships are the reasons that ACC’s
automotive program is noted as the finest among college automotive programs.”

Cutting Edge Education

ACC is one of a select number
of Department of Energy-Hybrid Training programs offered across the country.
The hybrid-training program is made possible by a federal grant to Colorado
State University Ventures and ACC, along with other participants. According to
Viola, technicians are trained in servicing and conversion of vehicles into
plug-in electric technology. Courses are taught in the evenings to allow
technicians to train after work hours.

“The rapid pace at which
technology is changing presents many challenges for technicians,” Viola said.
“Critical thinking skills, along with the ability to read, comprehend and
perform numerous mathematical calculations are the reasons we run a
degree-seeking program.”

The school offers
manufacturer-specific automotive programs as well, including:

  • Honda PACT;
  • GM ASEP;
  • Nissan; and 
  • Chrysler CAP

“Arapahoe Community College
continually strives to meet community and industry needs in meaningful and
innovative ways,” said ACC President Dr. Diana Doyle. “Our Automotive
Technology program is a proud example of excellence in service.”

About the School of the Year Contest

Babcox Media’s Tomorrow’s Technician magazine and
sponsors WIX Filters, Chicago Pneumatic and Waterloo Industries developed the
School of the Year contest to recognize the top automotive technical colleges
and schools dedicated to innovative training programs that prepare students for
real-world careers.

Entries for this year’s
contest were received from 301 students, instructors and other industry
representatives nominating nearly 100 high schools, technical schools and
colleges across the U.S. In February, the field of entries was consolidated to
a Top 20 list and in April, four schools were named regional finalists based on
judges’ scores. Scoring was based on binders issued by the schools that
highlighted school awards, instructor certifications, curriculum, graduation
information, extra-curricular events and other contest prerequisites.

For more information on the
contest, prizes awarded to ACC and the three finalist schools, as well as
features on previous School of the Year winners, visit

About Tomorrow’s

Tomorrow’s Technician
is an automotive trade magazine that is designed exclusively for a core target
audience of 17- to-25-year-old automotive students and their instructors.  Tomorrow’s
expands the experience of the readers by delivering technical
information to students about servicing today’s vehicles; assisting
educators with a “real world” supplement to classroom assignments; and
reinforcing the students’ decisions to seek a career in the automotive

Delivered to key
administrators at NATEF-certified, AYES and other automotive training programs
eight times a year, Tomorrow’s Technician
reaches more than 40,000 secondary and post-secondary automotive students and
educators every issue. For more information, visit