The Los Angeles Police Department’s Motor Transport Division received statewide honors recently for establishing an internship program that gives Automotive Technology students from College of the Canyons hands-on experience working on one of the nation’s largest law enforcement vehicle fleets.
The Motor Transport Division won 2016 Employer Program of the Year honors from the California Internship and Work Experience Association (CIWEA), California's leading professional association for educators and employers dedicated to supporting internship and work experience programs in higher education. The association annually recognizes employers who model exemplary internship and work experience programs.
Through the internship, students in the college’s Automotive Technology program work on the Motor Transport Division’s fleet of more than 5,100 vehicles. Under the direction of Commanding Officer Vartan Yegiyan, COC students are now in their third semester of internships with the LAPD.
Since the spring 2015 semester, nine students have completed the 80-hour internship, which pairs them with a master mechanic for instruction and hands-on training in preventative maintenance service, diagnostics and repair. Interns also work on vehicle modifications and collision repair.
Yegiyan approached the college to form the partnership last year. It was an immediate success, prompting Gina Bogna, acting assistant dean of COC’s Internships, Job Development, and Career Center, to nominate the Motor Transport Division for the award.
“I nominated LAPD because they took such a vested interest in creating an internship training program,” Bogna said. “LAPD not only took great care and consideration to develop a program, they want to commit to hosting at least two students each semester. That creates an amazing on-going opportunity for our automotive technology students.”
In addition, the internships may help students land permanent positions with the Motor Transport Division. “The City is working to count the 80 hour internship towards ‘points’ in their application process as an added value,” Bogna said.
Two of the students that successfully completed the internship program have since gone on to pass the City of Los Angeles Equipment Mechanic exam, with one of those students having already accepted a position with the Motor Transport Division.
“The success of the program so far is due to College of the Canyons’ continued support for its cooperative education program and its ability to partner with employers such as Motor Transport to insure that students have an avenue to pursue and succeed once they graduate from college,” said George Yamanaka, Director of Police Transportation II for LAPD Motor Transport Division.