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Hudson Valley Community College and DaimlerChrysler Drive Toward Future

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085 or Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8073
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Hudson Valley Community College's Automotive Program and the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund recently cemented their ongoing partnership, which is geared at ensuring that the Troy college continues to send qualified auto technicians into the workforce.

Gary Vleck, a DaimlerChrysler technical advisor and the Chrysler/Dealer Apprenticeship Program coordinator, visited Hudson Valley Community College on February 15 and presented Chrysler Automotive professor Harold Matthews with a $10,000 check from the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund. The money is part of a grant.

"We know that now, and in the next five years, we need technicians," Vleck said. "There's a shortage of quality technicians, and this is one way that we can recruit good technicians and continue to service automobiles."

"There's a shortage of about 68,000 technicians in the United States," Matthews said.

To that end, the job placement rate after graduation from the Automotive programs at Hudson Valley Community College approaches 100 percent. Beginning salaries range from $25,000 and up, and some technicians are commanding salaries of more than $60,000.

"These are good jobs," Matthews said. "They don't call them mechanics anymore. They're technicians. They work with computers quite extensively."

In addition to the $10,000 grant, DaimlerChrysler regularly donates vehicles to Hudson Valley Community College. The college's Automotive department currently boasts 15 automobiles courtesy of DaimlerChrysler, including Jeep Grand Cherokees, Dodge Neons and Dodge Intrepids. Students disassemble and reassemble the vehicles, learning to work with each model. DaimlerChrysler also contributes computer systems, tools and textbooks.

And DaimlerChrysler recently donated a Dodge Viper, valued at $68,000.

"We won't really get into tearing that apart," said Matthews, laughing as he walked by the cherry-red sports car. "That's more of a recruiting tool."

According to Matthews, the $10,000 grant will be used primarily to purchase new equipment. He said the money allows Hudson Valley Community College to keep up with cutting-edge technology. A portion will also go toward recruiting new students.

"There's good support from local dealerships," said Vleck, referring to the apprenticeships many of Hudson Valley Community College's Automotive department students perform. "The students get a lot of hands-on experience through the dealerships. They're assigned a trained technician who oversees their work and guides them. Then, after they graduate, the students can become employed full-time at the dealership."

"DaimlerChrysler is looking at the end product when they donate automobiles and money," Matthews said. "The end result is that our students are trained on their vehicles."

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions; Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, Hudson Valley has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.