The Career Automotive Program (MCAP) at Moraine Valley Community College provides valuable internship experience and manufacturer-specific training. MCAP students benefit from real-world “hands-on” experience while working at a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep dealership. MCAP students earn wages during the internship period and complete a minimum of 1,280 internship hours over the two-year program. MCAP students are required to complete AUT-233 (Internship Seminar – 1 credit) and AUT-237 (Internship – 3 credits) during the program. MCAP students also earn Chrysler training credit for manufacturer-specific training courses completed at Moraine Valley. Upon completion of the program, MCAP graduates earn an associate’s degree in automotive technology and a Chrysler MCAP diploma. Class size is limited to maintain a good instructor-to-student ratio, and the program begins once a year during the fall semester.
Job opportunities in this occupation are expected to be very good for persons who complete automotive training programs, especially programs that feature manufacturer-specific training. A person with good diagnostic skills will have the best opportunities. For well-prepared people with a technical background, automotive technician careers offer an excellent opportunity for good pay and benefits. However, persons without formal training are likely to face formidable competition for entry-level jobs.
MCAP students initially earn $8 to $12 per hour while working at the dealer. Pay increases are based on performance and/or seniority. It should be noted that “Master Technicians” with five or more years of experience can earn $50,000 to $100,000 per year. Currently in the Chicagoland area, the median wage for automobile technicians is $17.20 per hour.
Individuals desiring to enroll in MCAP must first submit a MCAP application form. The application should be submitted no later than May 31 of the year in which they wish to enroll. Shortly after submitting the application, MCAP applicants will be contacted to set up a date/time for an interview. Prior to the interview, MCAP applicants will be required to prove that they are prepared to take college-level English (COM-101) and MTH-095 (Beginning Algebra) or higher by taking the college’s placement tests, or provide proof that they scored a 20 or higher on their ACTs, or provide transcripts from another college or university. Once interviewed, applicants will be apprised of their status.
Individuals accepted into MCAP will then be required to seek sponsorship with a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep dealership. Only those individuals that have been accepted into MCAP, and have secured a sponsoring dealer will be allowed to start the program. To maintain good standing in the program, MCAP students must continue to maintain employment at a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep dealership throughout the program. MCAP students no longer employed at a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep dealership will not be allowed to continue in the program.
The cost of the two-year associate’s degree program at Moraine Valley Community College is approximately $7,000, including tuition, fees, books, and a basic tool set. MCAP students who reside outside of Moraine Valley Community College’s district receive a waiver that allows them to pay in-district fees. The price is based on 2006 costs and is subject to change.
MCAP students also may be eligible for the Bonus Incentive Fund. This bonus, paid by some dealerships, compensates students based on the number of hours worked, according to terms of their dealer/student contract.
The MCAP student and their sponsoring dealer can choose from a number of options. The MCAP Contract, which the dealer and MCAP student formulate together, provides the details. Some dealers provide the MCAP student with up to 50 percent tuition reimbursement.
For job listing and job placement assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Center for Contemporary Technology, T904, (708) 974-5737. For more information about the program or for questions, visit the department page.