_MG_8545 On Friday, July 14th, fourteen high school students were recognized in a special ceremony celebrating the completion of the 10th Hawai‘i High School Summer Auto Academy at Honolulu Community College. The Auto Academy targets high school students interested in the automotive industry in which they participate in an unpaid internship at a Cutter dealership in the mornings then attend classes at Honolulu CC in the afternoon five days a week for six weeks to total 120 classroom hours.  Upon successful completion of the program the students will receive 4-college credits towards an Associates of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Automotive Technology. “This program not only exposes high school students to the automotive industry, but it gives them a unique opportunity to experience a college level learning environment.  We are teaching them transferable skills that will translate in any workplace,” explains Honolulu CC Chancellor Erika Lacro. Over 100 high school students have benefited from the Auto Academy over its ten-year existence.  Third year Auto Academy student Wil Snyder, a 2007 graduate of Kaimukī High, completed the Automotive Technology program in 2010 while continuing to work at a Cutter dealership.  He is one of many success stories from the program. Currently, Snyder, a Master Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technician works part time at Rad Motorsports and with his father’s electric vehicle repair business, EV of Hawai‘i. More recently, Wil’s journey has led him back to Honolulu CC, this time as an instructor developing new curriculum in hybrid and electric vehicle technology that meets the auto industry demands for highly trained technicians, more specifically in the emerging sector of hybrid and electric vehicle repair and maintenance. The innovative summer program began as a collaborative partnership between Honolulu Community College, First Hawaiian Bank, Waipahū High School and Cutter Automotive Group in response to a shortage of trained workers in the automotive technology industry.  The program has since expanded to include the following schools at one point and time during the history of the program: ‘Aiea, Campbell, Castle, Farrington, Kaimukī, Kamehameha, Kalani, Leilehua, Mckinley and Waipahū. “We are grateful for the generous monetary contribution from First Hawaiian Bank to continue this program, and are thankful to our partners at the Cutter Automotive Group for giving these students a valuable internship experience.”  Since the program’s inception in 2004, the bank has contributed over $125,000, which covers the cost of tuition, tools and supplies. Honolulu Community College Automotive Technology program is certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and has maintained that status since 1993. _MG_8526