The Auto Parts Specialist Program was established in the fall term of 1970. The program was closely associated with the auto mechanics program. This program had established an auto parts function to support the live lab applications; primarily an auto parts room staffed by a full-time service staff member. The program was established to prepare graduates to work in a variety of auto parts operations, dealer based as well as independent.
An advisory committee including Dick Bolander, Gene Scheuermann and Larry McDonald were helpful in identifying the needs for the program and assisted in recommending course objectives and curriculum.
The Auto Parts Specialist Program was a four-quarter sequence designed to develop the skills necessary for satisfactory entrance in the auto parts industry. Classroom instruction was provided in automotive principles, business practices and related subject matter. This background was then supplemented by laboratory practice in the auto parts department and co-op work in industry. Completion of the program prepared the student to enter the auto parts industry in either a job parts store or a dealer parts department.
During the first three quarters of the program students divided their instruction time between classroom and laboratory experiences in the auto part's store that was housed in the auto department. In the final quarter of the program students were placed in internships in an auto parts store or department. Many of these assignments subsequently resulted in employment for the student.
The first program instructor was Phil Mack. He had an extensive experience in a variety of auto parts roles. A later instructor was Curt Smith, who had many years of experience in operating a parts department in a Ford dealership. Homer Jugenheimer served as the parts room staff person for many years.
Program graduates were able to secure jobs in this field throughout its short history. It was one of several programs that were discontinued in 1979, when the college reacted to decreased revenues and was forced to reduce its budget.