Current News:

September 2016 the Tuttle Click Group donates another $50,000.00 to support Saddleback College Auto Tech Student Scholarship Program!

2016 Saddleback College partnerships with GWC and LATT to build electric vehicles!

Saddleback College Includes Women as Targeted Demographic

OCADA 2012 High School Troubleshooting Contest

Saddleback Automotive Technology Program Accepts Donated Vehicles Valued at More than $65,000

Posted in July, 2013

Saddleback Automotive Technology Program Accepts Donated VehiclesVice President for Student Services Juan Avalos, Kia Motors America Manager, Product Communications James Hope, Vice President for Instruction Kathy Werle, Automotive Technology Professor and Department Chair Clifford Meyer, Automotive Technology Assistant Professor Vincent Pollizzi.


Clifford Meyer and Vincent Pollizzi give a tour of the automotive technology departmentProfessors Clifford Meyer and Vincent Pollizzi give a tour of the automotive technology department to James Hope of Kia Motors America and Elissa Oransky of the Saddleback College Foundation.

Saddleback College’s automotive technology program is the proud recipient of three new vehicles, thanks to Kia Motors America. The new vehicles, a 2012 Kia Rio 5, a 2011 Kia Sorrento, and a 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid, are valued at more than $65,000 and will be used by the college’s automotive technology classes in “live lab” activities. The donated hybrid vehicle will be used to train students enrolled in the college’s alternative fuel vehicle courses.

James Hope, manager of product communications at Kia Motors America, stated, “Local community involvement is a cornerstone of Kia Motors America, Orange County. The opportunity to provide vehicles to Saddleback College is just one way to reach out to local businesses and students.”

Clifford Meyer, professor and department chair of automotive technology, stated, “We are very appreciative of our five-year partnership with Kia Motors America, who has donated ten vehicles to our department. Thank you to Alan Davis and Howard Lim for their support of our college and program and for helping to secure these vehicles to provide enhanced training opportunities for our students.”


A job problem under repair

Posted in September, 2012

Listen, have I got a deal for you.

How would you like to go to school and learn a trade without leaping into debt? To sweeten the deal, you'd also get paid — on-the-job experience and the benefit of a mentor. Oh, and if you do all right, there's a free starter tool set and a job waiting for you at the end.

Today's economic forecast is cloudy with a chance of rain, so an offer like this caught my attention.

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo recently received a $50,000 grant from Tuttle-Click Automotive Group offering this sweet deal to students in its automotive technology program. The scholarships started in 2008 and were awarded to 10 students. This second round of awards just started.

For auto technicians looking to get a foot in the dealership door, it's a welcome mat.

"It offers them a career," explains Dale Sponseller, service manager for Tustin Tuttle-Click Chrysler Jeep Dodge, which currently has four apprentices. "It offers them a chance to make good money in a strong industry.

"Everybody drives. These students are our future."

Read the full story.


Automotive Technology Program Receives $50,000 Donation for Student Scholarships from Tuttle-Click

Posted in July, 2012

Saddleback College’s automotive technology program was awarded $50,000 for student scholarships thanks to a generous donation from Tuttle-Click Automotive Group. The Tuttle-Click Automotive Technology Scholarship,  a partnership through which students get on-the-job training at a local Tuttle-Click dealership while earning four certifications and their associate degree in automotive technology, awards students $750 per semester, a Matco starter tool set valued at $4,500, and job placement upon completion. This is the second year Saddleback has received the donation; the first was awarded in 2008 and 10 students have participated in the program.

Math, Science and Engineering Dean Christopher McDonald, Foundation Board President Jim Leach, Service Director at Tustin Tuttle-Click Dale Sponseller, Automotive Technology Department Chair Clifford Meyer, Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science Dean Don Taylor

(L-R) Math, Science and Engineering Dean Christopher McDonald, Foundation Board President Jim Leach, Service Director at Tustin Tuttle-Click Dale Sponseller, Automotive Technology Department Chair Clifford Meyer, Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science Dean Don Taylor

“This partnership with Tuttle-Click is an excellent example of how everyone benefits when the college and industry work together to train students for successful careers,” stated Dr. Tod Burnett, president of Saddleback College. “The scholarships provide students the support to complete their education, and the jobs at Tuttle-Click get their careers started immediately following their graduation. It’s an ideal situation for our students.”

Dale Sponseller, service director at Tustin Tuttle-Click Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge, stated, “Saddleback College’s automotive technology instructors have the same high standards for  their students that we do for our employees, so this partnership has been extremely beneficial to Tuttle-Click and Saddleback. Students who complete the program continue to move up the ranks at Tuttle-Click dealerships throughout the area.”

“Our outstanding automotive technology instructors work tirelessly to help our students exceed their academic and professional goals,” stated Don Taylor Saddleback College Division of Advanced Technology and Applied Science dean. “This partnership provides students with a career goal that is not only viable but also profitable.”

“This is the perfect program for students who are interested in cars but who also want to start their careers quickly,” stated Clifford Meyer, automotive technology department chair. “I am extremely proud of the students who have completed the program and am happy to continue the partnership with Tuttle-Click.”

Most graduates of the program continue to work for Tuttle-Click and many are now senior technicians. When students complete the two-year program, they will have earned an associate degree and be certified in automotive chassis, automotive engine service, automotive engine performance, and general automotive. Students who are interested in the program must first apply as an entry-level technician or apprentice technician at a local Tuttle-Click dealership and then fill out a separate application for the scholarship. Prospective students who would like more information on the program may contact Clifford Meyer at Contact Form


AutoTech Instructor Casey Moir in Hod Rod Magazine

Posted in July, 2011

The students of El Toro High School help out on shop class instructor Casey Moir’s Chevy Rat van. The heavily chopped box has a small-block Mopar mounted by the rear doors driving a boat V-drive mounted right behind the driver. It wheelies really well, and Casey drives the snot out of it.  See Casey Moir in Hod Rod Magazine




Auto Tech students receive Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship

By Sarah Black
Posted in November, 2010

Two students were awarded $2,000 each for the 2010 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship. Upon graduation, each will also receive a Westword toolkit.

Saddleback College students and automotive technology majors Andrew Hutchins, 20, and Anthony Sardegna, 21, were chosen and recognized as outstanding students in the school's technical program.

"Originally it was supposed to be quite a few people to apply," said Hutchins. "I was the only person to apply, and I got my check."

The $2,000 should be enough to get him started.

"The scholarship was mainly meant for me to buy tools and materials to enter the workforce," Hutchins said.

"It's a good way to start."

Automotive technology classes have definitely helped him, Hutchins said. "Pretty much, it's what don't we do in the class. Within the industry we cover everything."

Hutchins said that he is currently working as an alignment technician, which he said involves "making sure your car goes straight on the road."

What started as a hobby he now hopes will lead him into a career working at a specialty shop that works with racing teams.

"Our students are employed at a variety of automotive industry facilities throughout Orange County," said instructor Clifford Meyer.

Read the full story on the Lariat.


Two Saddleback College Students Receive Scholarships for Auto Tech

Posted in August 2010

Two Saddleback College Students Receive Scholarships for Auto TechRecently, Saddleback College students Anthony Sardegna, 21, and Peter Sardegna, 20, found out they were among 26 auto technology students countywide to receive scholarships from local automotive dealers as part of the California New Car Dealers Association Scholarship Foundation.

"This is so awesome," Anthony Sardegna said upon getting the news. "We wouldn't have been able to go to school without this."

The Sardegna brothers are both starting their second year at Saddleback. Their dream is to open up a tuning or automotive business when they get their certification.

"At 12, I started taking apart lawnmowers and go-peds," Anthony Sardegna said. "They always came together differently but that's how I learned. It's like a passion, it makes me feel happy. I'm a gasoline freak, I guess."

Anthony Sardegna credits Clifford Meyer, his Automotive Service Excellence teacher at Saddleback, with the opportunity for the scholarship.

"He inspired us and teaches us not only out of a book but life stories," he said. "He's been the best auto tech teacher I've experienced. He told us how to go about applying for the scholarships."

Since its founding in 1995, the CNCDA Foundation's Auto Technician Scholarship program has granted more than $365,000 in scholarships to 260 students. This year, Orange County students, will get between $500 and $1,000 each per semester. The scholarships are awarded based on several criteria including the applicant's intent to pursue a career as an automotive technician, the students GPA, and enrollment in a post-secondary mechanical automotive technician training program.

John Sackrison, executive director of the OC Automotive Dealer Association, said, "This is also a good way to show students an opportunity for a great career. About 11,000 nationwide are expected to be hired between now and 20106. These are fantastic careers where the students are trained on the latest technology. Master mechanics can make paychecks of upwards of $100,000."


Saddleback College Auto Tech Program receives car donation from Hyundai

Posted in January, 2010

Saddleback College’s Automotive Technology Department was gifted a 2008 Hyundai Elantra valued at $15,000 thanks to a generous donation by the Hyundai Motor Corporation, college officials said Monday. The car will be used for technical instruction in automotive technology classrooms and labs.

“Community partners such as Hyundai Motor Corporation are crucial in helping us educate Saddleback College students for much-needed jobs in the automotive industry,” said Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College. “Hyundai’s generous donation will go a long way in providing our students with the tools they need to become marketable in the workplace.”

Saddleback College’s automotive technology programs are designed to prepare students for employment as automotive technicians. Students may also complete their associate in science or associate in arts degree requirements and prepare to transfer to a four-year college. Training is given in both theory and practical skills in the operation, maintenance, and repair of all types of automotive systems. The following four certificate options are available for automotive technology students: Automotive Chassis Specialist, Automotive Engine Service Specialist, Automotive Engine Performance Specialist, and General Automotive Technician.