Understanding the latest automotive computers and sensors now will be possible for students in Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Automotive Industry Management (AIM) program thanks to the donation of three vehicles valued at nearly $60,000. The donations were made possible by Ford Motor Company and 1998 alumnus Paul Mathias, technical training manager for Nissan North America, Inc.
The 2009 Ford Escape, 2005 Infiniti, and 2004 Nismo Off-Road truck bring to 10 the number of vehicles donated by manufacturers over the past few years, according to AIM Chair Ron Darby. An additional six vehicles have been donated for use by the program from community members.
“Receiving a brand new vehicle (the 2009) is a rarity,” Darby said. “We typically wouldn’t be able to see this new technology in our labs until later, so these donations keep us current with what the industry is doing immediately rather than several years down the road.”
The AIM program provides students with a broad range of management, business, and technical skills applicable to the automotive parts and service industries. The only program of its kind in Colorado and one of only a handful of programs nationally, AIM boasts an impressive 97 percent job placement ratio, thanks to a stellar reputation within the automotive industry. The program promised students a solid knowledge of automotive operating systems as well as a minor in business administration and an understanding of financial policy, business law, marketing, and asset management. The students receive a comprehensive theoretical foundation, bolstered by hands-on laboratory experiences.
Darby said the program often gets donations after natural disasters like floods since after such severe damage, the vehicles cannot be licensed or even driven because of the liability. Darby said the donations will keep the students and the program up to date working with the latest technology, such as coil-on-plug ignition, tire pressure monitoring systems, and self adjusting seats.
Students in CSU-Pueblo’s AIM 335, Garage Practices, conduct testing on three vehicles recently donated to the University that offer a glimpse of the latest in computer and automotive technology.