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12/16/2002
Hudson Valley Professor First To Gain World Wide GM Certification

CONTACT: Jeff Foley (518) 629-8085
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, December 16, 2002

Image of Left to right: John L. Buono, Matt Giunta, Dale Button and Ange Girolamo.General Motors honored Hudson Valley Community College assistant professor Dale Button on Wednesday, December 11. Button, a Canajoharie native who has taught in Hudson Valley's Automotive department since 1990, recently became the first World Class Certified General Motors instructor in the United States.

"There are approximately 20,000 General Motors technicians in the Northeast Region and only 25 of them are World Class certified," said Ange Girolamo, a Regional Service Technical manager for General Motors. "Dale Button is the first instructor in North America to become World Class certified. That's no small feat – Dale's been at this for 27 years."

Before coming to Hudson Valley, Button spent several years as service manager of M.W. Roosevelt and Son Chevrolet/Olds. He left that post in 1989 to continue his education and to serve as an educator. He believes strongly that an instructor should maintain trade involvement, and he still performs sublet repair work for M.W. Roosevelt and Son Chevrolet/Olds, as well as several other independent shops.

"Trade involvement is important for any technology instructor," Button said. "I'm very reluctant to put something out there for my students unless I've gone through the assessment process."

To gain World Class certification, Button had to complete eight of General Motors's nine mechanical Master Technician assessments, covering topics such as engine repair and brakes. Each of the areas required approximately 70 hours of study and work, and Button, who began his career in 1975 as a line technician at an Oldsmobile dealership, has logged about 1,100 hours of corporate training in pursuit of World Class certification. Each certification also requires passing an eight-hour practical exam.

Each exam consists of 10 stations, where participants have 40 minutes to troubleshoot vehicles. The exams certify that participants understand what it takes to work with today's vehicles, and that they are able to apply that knowledge in a dealership-like setting.

"You can have all the book knowledge in the world, but if you can't actually get in there and fix the problems, it won't help you," said Hudson Valley President John L. Buono, who was on hand for Wednesday's ceremony, during which Button was presented with a plaque, a leather jacket and a personalized General Motors service coat. "Dale Button is a professor who has proven that he can do what he teaches."

Button teaches courses that fall under the umbrella of Hudson Valley's Automotive Technical Services – General Motors ASEP program. Hudson Valley students enrolled in this program are sponsored by a General Motors dealership, where they spend part of each semester working, and they work with General Motors-provided vehicles, parts, engines, tools, training manuals and materials. Best of all, they work with Button, who also teaches dealer technicians.

"Having tools and equipment and a wonderful facility don't make a program," said Matt Giunta, Northeast Region manager of the General Motors Automotive Service Education Program (ASEP), which brings students and automotive dealerships together. "Having teachers like Dale Button makes for a good learning environment."

"His expertise makes our students more employable," said Phillip White, department chairperson for Hudson Valley's Automotive & Industrial Technologies department. "Dealerships look at more than the education a potential employee brings to the table; they also look at who their teachers were. Clearly, Dale Button adds a high level credibility to our Automotive Technical Services – General Motors program."

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has graduated more than 55,000 students.