Students will get hands-on, Subaru-certified training

Subaru’s partnership with Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon will give rise to the first college degree dedicated to Subaru automotive technology. The two-year associate degree starts in the fall 2018 semester. It’s the first college program in the U.S. to provide students the opportunity to work at Subaru retailers by giving them hands-on Subaru factory-certified training inside an institute of higher learning.

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This is a great move on Subaru’s part for a number of reasons. The automaker has one of the biggest footprints in the Pacific Northwest, a product of having a lot of Subaru owners in the region. It’s no secret that states like Oregon and Washington are known for their wet weather and snowy terrain. It’s the perfect playground for all-wheel drive Subies.

Apparently, the students at Mt. Hood Community College are fans of the Japanese automaker, too, at least according to Eric Garvey, an automotive instructor at the community college.

“Our students love Subaru vehicles, and they often tell us they want to work on them,” Garvey said. “Plus, there’s a huge regional demand here in the Pacific Northwest for Subaru cars and SUVs, so it’s a win-win.”

Subaru’s partnership with MHCC is also a natural fit given the strong history between the two. The community college is one of a number of schools around the U.S. that have opened itself to Subaru U, a program that infuses specific training into existing automotive technology degrees. A lot of automakers have adopted similar systems to help train new technicians through a combination of classroom work and apprenticeships at local dealerships. It’s a great way for upstart technicians to learn about the craft from the best people who can teach it.

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Subaru WRX STI- $36,095

But this new two-year program created by Subaru and MHCC is on another level. Not only does it combine Subaru’s specialty training and apprenticeships directly into the college curriculum, but it also places students at the heart of the trade by providing paid on-the-job training at local dealerships and full-time positions after graduation.

There’s no question that this partnership is a boon for Subaru, MHCC, and most importantly, the students who are going to take up the two-year degree.

It’s unclear, though, how the degree will translate to other tech-related auto positions with other automakers, but given that these students will get the education and the training from one of the most respected automakers in the world, it’s hard to imagine this degree being anything less than a huge bonus for students once they graduate from it.

Further reading

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Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX.

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Subaru of America, Inc. has announced that the nation’s first college degree in Subaru automotive technology will be offered at Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) in Gresham, Oregon, starting this fall. Created in partnership with the Mt. Hood Community College Automotive Technology program to meet the rising industry demand for Subaru automotive technicians, the two-year, associate of applied science degree will prepare students to work at Subaru retailers by providing hands-on Subaru factory-certified training. Students will be paired with sponsoring Subaru retailers that will provide paid, on-the-job experience, as well as full-time positions after graduation.

The Subaru automotive technology degree expands upon the automaker’s existing relationship with MHCC, fostered through its Subaru U program, dedicated to providing knowledge of Subaru vehicles and systems to prepare students for possible future employment at Subaru retailers nationwide. MHCC first partnered with Subaru in 2015 to provide the Subaru U online factory certification to its automotive technology students. Since then, the training has been provided through the college’s automotive technology – IMPORT (Individualized Mechanical Program of Repair Technicians) associate degree program.

“Our students love Subaru vehicles and they frequently tell us they want to work on them,” said Eric Garvey, MHCC automotive instructor. “Plus, there’s a huge regional demand here in the Pacific Northwest for Subaru cars and SUVs, so it’s a win-win.”

MHCC is currently working with nine Subaru retailers throughout Oregon to provide students with sponsorships. In 2017, more than 30 students completed the Subaru U online factory certification, which Subaru provided at no cost to MHCC students. Subaru has also donated equipment and five training vehicles for Automotive Technology students to work on.

“We are thrilled to enhance our existing partnership with Mt. Hood Community College and provide greater opportunities for its dedicated students,” said Jim Pernas, Portland Zone Director at Subaru of America, Inc. “At Subaru, we are passionate about helping members of our local communities succeed and are excited to give aspiring Subaru technicians the tools they need to realize their full potential.”

For more information about Subaru of America and Subaru U, please visit To learn more about MHCC’s Automotive Technology programs, please visit

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