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OCC Enters Letter of Intent with Tesla to Offer Automotive Tech Students Internships

John Smith/WAER News

Automotive Technology students at Onondaga Community College could be landing internships with a high-end electric vehicle company by the fall of 2018.  A letter-of-intent has been reached between the college and Tesla.  The company brought an EV worth about $147,000 to the college with doors that mechanically lift upwards.  Perhaps the white leather seats and large electronic dashboard will also draw you in.  However, if you’re an Automotive Technology student like Anton Prusakob, you look beneath the surface.

“I was mentally dissembling each component and trying to visualize how everything functions together.  But, that’s an automotive technicians’ mindset, basically.  You don’t see the outside, you see all of the components that are inside.  It still has some of the basic components of suspension and steering but, it’s dwindled down to drive-train only being motors and a couple of axels.”

Credit John Smith/WAER News
OCC Automotive Technology Student Anton Prusakob

His goal is to one day specialize in automotive electronics.  OCC and Tesla announced the collaboration on Tuesday that will provide internships; if the company is allowed by the state legislature to expand into Central New York.  The company’s Northeast Market Development Lead, Kate Burson says they want to train the industry’s future workforce.

“They’re going to be learning the nuts and bolts of electronic diagnostics and how to service our cars.  But, even more important for the workplace today, we really focus on both process and problem solving and also how to work collaboratively in teams.  That’s essential to our business.”

OCC’s President Casey Craybill thinks the partnership will allow students to become more knowledgeable with job ready-skills in a changing industry.

“All of the questions about multiple kinds of fuel, so students will have a broader exposure to that.  Really, the highest-end technology available in the automotive industry; it really is a Tesla at this point.  So, they will have everything that they possibly need to be successful in the automotive field.”

Right now, Tesla is capped to the maximum number of stores and service centers it can have in New York State.  Senator Dave Valesky says there is pending legislation in the Senate and Assembly to address that.  He’s credited with reaching out to the company to express bringing the internship program to Syracuse.

Credit John Smith/WAER News
A close-up view of a Tesla.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.