Northwest’s Mopar CAP students ready for the real world
When Northwest Mississippi Community College automotive technology students graduate with the Chrysler’s College Automotive Program (Mopar CAP) degree, they have usually been working in their field for at least a year. CAP students learn late-model Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicle technology. The program features an internship with either a Chrysler, Dodge or Jeep dealership, with credits earned toward the degree through Northwest’s Work-Based Learning (WBL) program.
Mopar CAP instructors Kevin Miller and David Yount spend time traveling in Mississippi and surrounding states judging Skills competitions for the recruiting of students interested in the automotive programs. “We are becoming known in the Mid-South area,” Yount said. “When our students do well in these internships at dealerships, that helps establish rapport with them. It makes it easier for the next person who comes along and gets a dealer sponsorship.”
Amber Madison Noyes of Byhalia is an automotive technology Mopar CAP major who will graduate this May with her Associate of Applied Science. Noyes, the single mother of a five-year-old son, wanted to further her education to be able to take care of herself and her son. “After my son’s dad left, I got a car and could not afford the maintenance costs. My brother-in-law was helping me with the routine maintenance, and I realized I really liked doing this kind of work. I started looking at local programs and liked what I saw online about Northwest,” Noyes said.
In addition to core classes and hands-on experiences in lab, students also get special certifications for Chrysler through the Chrysler Academy training website. They check off on certain classes in both training and service. Noyes has completed 67 courses outside of her regular program at Northwest. The technology on the Chrysler Academy website allows a student to learn about a vehicle online from home before going into the dealership to work. “We can put in the VIN and find out the history of the vehicle,” Noyes said. “It helps sometimes to learn about a particular vehicle even before we actually work on it.”
The Delaware native has overcome a lot of obstacles to be able to graduate from the program. In addition to being a single mother, she has a blood disorder called ITP, immune thrombocytopenia (also known as immune or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), an autoimmune disease. In autoimmune diseases, the body mounts an immune attack toward one or more seemingly normal organ systems. In ITP, platelets are the target. The platelets are marked as foreign by the immune system and eliminated in the spleen, the liver, and by other means. She has had her spleen removed and about an eighth of her pancreas. “I was sick all the time before and could not hold down a job. My disease went into remission with the birth of my son, so I am doing much better now,” Noyes said.
She has been working at Tupelo Auto Sales, a Chrysler dealership, since last June and has already been asked to continue working after she graduates. She encourages other women to come into automotive technology and the CAP program. “I wish there were more women who would come into this program. My big thing was I wanted to be independent. I did not want to be dependent on someone to fix my car,” Noyes said.
For Dylan Tyler Misel, Northwest got his foot in the door at Landers Dodge before he ever entered the program. “Right out of high school, I went to Landers Dodge and said I am going to the CAP program in the fall. What do you think you can do for me? They hired me that summer,” Misel said.
Misel, who grew up in Minnesota and Missouri before moving to Southaven as a high school junior, always liked fixing things. “I just liked it and for me cars were easy to work on. They are always going to be around. We depend on transportation,” Misel said. He has found the CAP program exceeded his expectations. “I thought I was just going to be learning basics, but it’s much more in-depth than that. It is pretty detailed,” Misel said. He feels that the experience he is getting in the classroom and through his internship will get him prepared for his career.
Students who graduate through the CAP program are not limited to working only at Chrysler, Yount pointed out. Students in the automotive technology program all learn basic concepts in their classes. “CAP, of course is specific to Chrysler, but if a student has completed this program, the potential employer at another dealership knows that if he or she is capable of getting those certifications through Chrysler, they can transfer some of their skills and get a job at that non-Chrysler dealership,” Yount said. He added that the student would have to be trained specifically for the other products he or she would be working on. “Their Chrysler credentials would remain on the website in their portfolios, however,” Yount said.
Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College Mopar CAP automotive technology students Amber Noyes, left, and Dylan Misel, right are both currently working as interns in Chrysler dealerships. CAP students learn late-model Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicle technology, and graduate with an associate of Applied Science. Their instructor, David Yount, center, points out the features of the new Dodge Dart. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)