February 22, 2008
For Immediate Release
Think Women Can’t Fix Cars? Think Again
February 22, 2008, San Jose – Surprise! Women not only like to get under the hood of a car, they’re good at fixing them, too. To prove just how great a career automotive technology can be for females, Evergreen Valley College applied for and received a two-year grant of $250,000 from the California State Chancellor's Office to develop a Hybrid-Alternative Fuel program for their Automotive department, and are seeking the help of the CalWomen Tech Project (CWT) to help recruit women to the program.
It’s an obvious move for a field where the employment outlook is strong and earning potential varies from $50K to $100K but one which only attracts 2% female workers. “The automotive field not only requires skilled workers with knowledge of traditional hand tools, but also demands that workers know how to use computerized shop equipment and electronic components, and we have the faculty and facilities here to help teach that,” adds Kuni Hay, EVC’s VP of Academic Affairs.
“Our program will introduce a variety of the latest propulsion alternatives such as induced fuel cell, compressed natural gas, all electric, E85, and gasoline-electric vehicles,” says David Ames, lead faculty for EVC’s Automotive Program. Adds Michael Hernandez, EVC Automotive Instructor, “Technicians can specialize in a specific area, from hands on adjustment, repair services, or in more ‘people oriented’ positions, such as testing diagnostics and customer service.”
So how will CWT help EVC recruit women into a field that does not traditionally attract women? By providing marketing support, establishing female-friendly best practices, and lending technical assistance on coursework, and providing e-mentoring on subjects such as how to develop male allies in a male-dominated career or how to overcome an unfriendly work environment. There’s even a Women Tech Digital Library for female students. Furthermore, CWT will train EVC faculty how to develop curriculum examples that appeal to female learning styles. Yet another strategy is to develop an auto-specific Reading Lab, where all the terminology used is related to automotive technology.“EVC is committed to enhancing gender equity and diversity that supports the values of our Board of Trustees and District community. The primary goal of the CWT grant is to achieve equal access
and gender equity in EVC’s Automotive Program, and eventually replicate this process for other EVC high tech programs,” says Dr. David Wain Coon, President of Evergreen Valley College.
For more information about the program, contact Diane Ontiveros at 408-274-7900, extension 6647. Ontiveros is the lead lab technician and heads up the EVC Women's Auto Club.
ABOUT Evergreen Valley College
With student learning as its primary focus, Evergreen Valley College’s mission is to empower students to expand their human potential and to succeed in a global, multicultural society. The College, which sits on a picturesque 175-acre site in the eastern foothills of San Jose, provides access to comprehensive and flexible post-secondary education to prepare students of all ages and backgrounds for balanced and productive lives and to improve the workforce and quality of life in our community.