Rattler Automotive Careers Education Academy (RACE) News
Thursday, March 17, 2016
RACE Academy students check things out below as College of the Desert Automotive Student Zachariah Wendler
gets to the bottom of an SUV on a 2-post lift in the COD Automotive Technology garage. More than 50 Rancho
Mirage High School students who participated in the Tuesday morning field trip received a tour of the shop,
observed a classroom lecture, and engaged in Q and A sessions with COD students.
BEEP BEEP! HISS! RATTLERS, ROADRUNNERS TALK SHOP AT COD
By Jeff Kabel
Work Based Learning Educator
RACE students got a glimpse of a career pathway Tuesday as they toured facilities of the Automotive
Technology program at College of the Desert. The event gave Rattlers an opportunity to see how an
automotive curriculum would function at the college level.
The tour featured a pair of hour-long tours of the automotive shop and a classroom discussion.
Technicians and instructors gave students a tour of the garage while COD program advisor and instructor
Dorothy Anderson discussed the topic of car batteries in her class.
Following the lecture, RACE students interviewed COD students about their work and class experiences
in the industry. In the garage, technicians gave brief equipment demonstrations utilizing lifts, tire
machines and electric cars.
“Everything is going green,” said Craig Young, a student worker and volunteer at COD. Young assisted
with shop demonstrations for students on Tuesday.
The tour also featured a brief class discussion from technicians on procedure along with a question and
answer session regarding what students learned in the shop.
The college will be offering summer classes for students who are interested. The Introduction To
Automotive and Automotive Braking Systems Courses begin June 12.
The COD automotive curriculum includes specific courses in steering, suspension, braking systems, both
automatic and manual transmission, air conditioning, electrical systems, engine management and emission
control systems. The College offers an Associate of Science degree (A.S.) in Automotive Technology and
certificates of achievement for students who specialize in those areas.
Sophomore RACE student Nathan Ramirez talked about the benefit of the trip. “We learned about basic
skills and using different machines and safety precautions. It was cool to see how their shop was similar
“It was productive and everybody got something out of it,” said Bryan Downer, RACE Academy
Coordinator. “I was impressed with our kids and how they took it seriously.”
Dave Holland, RACE Automotive Academy Instructor, concurred.
“It was good for them to see how this works at the college level. It expanded their knowledge and helped
broaden things a bit.”
“It was a wonderful experience for our students because many of them plan on attending COD’s
automotive program,” RACE Academy Counselor Michelle Valenzuela said.