RR 364: ASCCA Automotive Degree Program. First of Its Kind to Channel Students to Independents.

We get a glimpse of the new ASCCA Degree program that has been in the works for years that has just been approved at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon, CA.  This state-approved credit course and will create paid internships from ASCCA shops. This is a  post-secondary program like the OE programs but strictly for independents and will help solve the need for entry-level technicians for independent shops.

ASCCA Guest Panel:

Dara Bakhshandeh is from C & D Auto Care which is a family-owned, team operated, 6,500 square foot automotive service and repair facility where Dara works on domestic and Asian vehicles. He is Treasurer of Chapter 24 and a Trustee for the Automotive Service Councils Educational Foundation.

As a long-time member of ASCCA, Dara says that there are many benefits to being an ASCCA member. “Networking with other shop owners and learning from their experiences is a huge benefit, plus the support and help you receive in a time of need. Another great benefit is being updated on various bills going through the legislature that could negatively affect our industry.”

Dara also said there are many special and memorable moments that go along with being an ASCCA member. “There are many Team Weekends that hold my favorite memories. I love seeing how the association comes together and I appreciate the time donated by the Board to make the automotive industry better today and in the future.” Learn Dara’s Previous Episodes HERE.

John Eppstein is the owner of John’s Automotive Care in San Diego, CA, admits he was a better tech than a businessman but did something about it. John opened up JAC in April 1998 and was the only employee for the first 3 years. His career in the automotive field started when he turned 16, and he has been working full time ever since 1983.

John is an ASE Certified Master Technician and has been since 1999. When not at the shop, his love for sports takes him from the soccer fields to the OTL courts at Fiesta Island. Collecting baseball cards and working with his favorite non-profits like The Boys and Girls Clubs of East County and The Automotive Service Councils of California. One thing he credits for his success is making his customer his main focus. John was honored as the 2016 NAPA ASE Technician of the year.  Learn John’s Previous Episodes HERE.

Brad McCombs is the Instructor and Coordinator for the Ford ASSET Program at Cuyamaca College’s Automotive Technology Department. Brad is currently enrolled MA of Learning Design Technology – San Diego State University – August 2017. Relevant Course work and Coursework Collaborate with the Ford Instructional Design Team:

  • Design training and performance support programs, course and resources
  • Design job aids and electronic performance support systems
  • Work on usability and human-computer interaction design
  • Conduct research
  • Build complex websites
  • Oversee learning management and content management systems
  • Build coaching and mentoring systems
  • Evaluate program effectiveness and impact
  • Analysis learning needs and performance opportunities
  • California State Chancellor’s Office Certification Distance Education Instruction
  • Ford Instructor, Bosch Master Technician, ASE Master Technician
  • Ford ASSET Coordinator and Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College Automotive Department Coordinator
  • California Bureau of Automotive Repair Licensed Training Instructor and Subject Matter Expert
  • Business Owner Harloff Import Parts, Service, and Technical Training – 1993 – 2010 (CA Private Post-Secondary Education) – BAR Contract Technician Training

Brad was very instrumental in bringing this program to fruition. Discover Brad’s Previous Episodes HERE.

Key Talking Points:

  • ASCCA Degree program- Approved by the state of California.
    • The seed of this idea started 6 years ago as Dara was trying to find qualified technicians
      • How do you improve the pool of interns to start with?
      • Instead of colleges being concerned on equipment they’re getting for classes they need to focus on the relationships with local businesses.
      • Show students plan (5-year journey) and measure goals along the way.
    • John is a member of the advisory board/foundation for Cuyamaca College.
    • Brad McCombs is the Ford ASSET Coordinator and Instructor at Cuyamaca College who had a big role in creating the course outline that was approved by the State of California. These are handpicked college courses that pertain more to current modern day vehicles.
    • Colleges in California can participate in the program- ASCCA will approve schools.
    • Their goal is to grow the program from associates degree to a bachelors degree.
    • 12 units of supervised work experience (1 unit= 70 hours of working in the shop)
    • The program will appeal to students that dream of owning own business one day and want to work and learn from a shop owner.
    • Based on ASE Educational Foundation (formerly NATEF) standards and competencies.
  • Developing program in other states
    • Need an association like ASCCA to oversee it and independent shop owners that recognize the need for it.
    • ASCCA will offer out of state memberships.

A sincere thanks to John Eppstein, Dara Bakhshandeh, and Brad McCombs for being on the podcast.


Resources Mentioned:

Automotive Service Councils of California

Cuyamaca College’s Automotive Technology Program HERE.

ASCCA Proposed Associate of Science Automotive Technology College Degree Program. Download HERE.

ASE Education Foundation (formerly NATEF) HERE.

Link to the ‘BOOKS’ page highlighting all books discussed in the podcast library HERE. Leaders are readers.


Leave me an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one of them.


Be socially involved and in touch with the show:
Facebook   Twitter   Linked In   Email    Events    Speaking

This episode is brought to you by Federal-MogulMotorparts and Garage Gurus. With brands like Moog, Felpro, Wagner Brake, Champion, Sealed Power, FP Diesel and more, they’re the parts techs trust.  For serious technical training and support – online, onsite and on-demand – Garage Gurus is everything you need to know. Find out more at fmmotorparts.com  and fmgaragegurus.com

About the author, Carm Capriotto, AAP

Carm is the founder and host of the Remarkable Results Radio Podcast and the pioneer of automotive aftermarket podcasts. Carm calls on his years of experience in the aftermarket to bring engaging stories from his guests.

Listen to raw, unfiltered, honest, and sincere stories that include insights, trends, best practices, and expertise. Each interview brings an opportunity to learn one new thing through the stories of personal achievement. Many podcast guests tell their story of transformation from working in their business to working on it.

As host of over 1,000 episodes, Carm uses his enthusiasm and passion for the aftermarket especially the service sector to take his listeners on a journey showcasing successful service professionals’ paths to Remarkable Results. He also enjoys interviews with aftermarket industry thought leaders who bring their industry perspectives to his listener.

Follow the podcast on your favorite podcast listening app and always listen to learn just one thing!