OC signs more Ford ASSET students

Some of the Ford ASSET students are seen signing their commitment to the program at the OC Sewell Auto Tech facility Monday. There were 17 students in attendance Monday. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

Odessa College on Monday held the second annual Ford ASSET Signing Day at the Sewell Auto Tech facility.

Seventeen students turned out for the occasion.

In the Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training (ASSET) program at Odessa College, students rotate between classroom studies and hands-on experience at Ford or Lincoln Dealerships over two years. Graduating with an associate degree and dealer expertise, they will earn full certification with Ford, including BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) certifications.

Mike Merrill, general manager of Sewell, said he is super excited about the new cohort of students. He thanked the families and parents who were on hand Monday.

“This is an amazing opportunity for you to be able to fast track into a senior master tech position,” Merrill said.

After being at 2425 E. Eighth St., for decades, Merrill said The Sewell Family of Companies moved to 7260 East Highway 191 in 2018.

Merrill said President Collin Sewell had the vision to make this into what it is today.

“Between him and Odessa College, this was born out of that. We’ve had 30 graduating members so far. So we have 30 young men and women that are on the line right now becoming our senior master techs at all kinds of dealerships. … We have another 20 who will graduate in May …” and then the 17 from Monday, Merrill said.

“The Sewell dealership is completely involved with this, along with the leaders that you see represented. We’re just blessed to have all of you and thank you for trusting Odessa College. It’s a great organization and (it’s) got a phenomenal track record in senior master tech certifications.”

Shaun Sessa, automotive and diesel instructor in the Ford ASSET program, said the Ford ASSET program is not just a partnership between OC and Ford Motor Company, but every manufacture specific Ford Lincoln dealership in the area. That includes El Paso to Stanton and Big Spring.

“We are committed to bringing new young men and young women and some of our other seasoned professionals that wish to switch their programs into a manufacture specific job. When we talk manufacturer specific cars and trucks, their nuts and bolts. They’re all kind of similar, but there’s a special pride that comes from working on a manufacture brand and knowing everything you can about a specific vehicle and all the new model and technology that comes out,” Sessa said.

He added that a 1965 Mustang and a 2023 vehicle are completely different beasts.

“We’ve got electric vehicles now. We need to be prepared and we need to be raising in-house our technicians to be able to work and be able to adapt to the coming environments. The partnership was formed to train these specific technicians in this format,” Sessa said.

He added that coming out of this program, students will receive their Ford master certification.

“This is after a two-year commitment with this program, as well as an associate degree. That’s an amazing accomplishment in the automotive world; not simply because of the time spent. If you were to not go through the ASSET program, this would take five years to accomplish,” Sessa said.

The students signed a promissory note, a symbol of their commitment to investing their time, talent and energy into the Ford ASSET program.

“In this document, it talks about the investment that you’re going to be making into the program that you are committing to. It also talks about the investment that Odessa College is putting into your outcomes for a brand-new career, a brand-new life and into your future. But not only those two investments, there is also a major investment,” but industry partners, Dean of the School of Business and Industry Gene White said.

Cristian Acevedo, has been interested in auto mechanics since he was 14. He’s now 20.

Acevedo said he’s seen all the changes between older and newer vehicles, but he still personally prefers the older models because they are easier to work on and look better in his opinion.

“I grew up with older Ford vehicles,” Acevedo said.

Gabino Almager, 22, said he had been interested in working on cars and got a job as a porter at Rogers Ford.

They told him about the ASSET program.

“It was just always liking cars and finally finding a way to get to it was probably the best part about this program,” Almager said.

He’s excited about his future and feels a little bit more secure.

“As long as I work hard at this, it will work out,” Almoner said.

Current students enrolled at the time of publication:

  • Acevedo, Cristian L (Rogers Ford)
  • Almager, Gabino F (Rogers Ford)
  • Beaman, Jakob A (Sewell Ford)
  • Coltharp, Tristan F (Casa Ford El Paso)
  • Floriano, Jose L (Rogers Ford)
  • Gonzalez, Francisco M (TBD)
  • Grajeda, Francisco S (Sewell Ford)
  • Hernandez, Anthony J (TBD)
  • Jaquez, Estrella V (TBD)
  • Lara, Adrian D (Sewell Ford)
  • Ortiz, Erick (Rogers Ford)
  • Reule, Adam M (Rogers Ford)
  • Soto, Miguel O (TBD)
  • Trejo, Carlos M (Sewell Ford)
  • Villegas, Sebastian (TBD)
  • Watson, London B (TBD)
  • Zuniga, Kobie N (Sewell Ford)