(Pomona, CA) June 2011- With the decline of funding for high school programs a reality, the Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC) is happy to introduce its newest solution. Set to open its doors in the fall, the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts (AXC) will provide instruction and certification in a two-year hands-on program, at no cost to the students.
Students enrolled in the program will receive training by certified instructors in vehicle diagnosis, service, auto body metal and fabrication, mechanics and restoration—a plethora of transferrable skills with ROP certification. The small class size and the variety of skills taught will ensure that students are employable within the automotive field, as well as other industries where this knowledge and experience are applicable.
Xydias was an influential figure in the early days of the sport of auto racing involving hot rods. He opened the first So-Cal Speed Shop in Burbank in 1946. As the holder of several class speed records, he is the recipient of accolades and honors from numerous automotive organizations. The energetic 89-year-old is currently chairman of the board of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, located on the Fairplex campus.
“I’ve always had a passion and appreciation for hot rods and custom cars and I’m hoping to transfer that love down to the younger generations,” said Xydias. “Students will walk away from this two-year program with a skill set that not only qualifies them to work in the best shops in the area, but they’ll be able to get jobs in fields other than automotive.”
Pomona’s and Fairplex’s automotive ties are legendary. As the home of the NHRA Motorsports Museum and the famous quarter-mile Pomona Raceway, Fairplex has hosted the NHRA Winternationals and the NHRA World Finals every year since 1953. Xydias’ strong background and renown in the hot rod industry and his affiliation with the CTEC program lends strength to its mission.
“Having someone as well-known and respected as Alex Xydias lend his name to a CTEC program is very important to us,” said Dwight Richards, vice president of operations at Fairplex. “Fairplex is dedicated to education and this represents one more step towards helping our young people receive the training they need to thrive in the real world.”
As a part of The Learning Centers (TLC) at Fairplex, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, AXC is the newest CTEC program to prove the organization’s deep commitment to provide educational opportunities at no cost to local students. Offering classes in water technology, construction, alternative fuels, agriculture and the arts, CTEC is a part of TLC along with the Child Development Center at Fairplex, Millard Sheets Center for the Arts at Fairplex, Fairtime Education, and Junior Fair Board.
"I've been involved with the automobile trade for 50 years in one way or another. The Alex Xydias Center for the Automotive Arts is a dream come true for me, especially during a time when most schools are shying away from the manual arts,” said Pete Chapouris, president of So-Cal Speed Shop and volunteer member of the CTEC Automotive/AXC Committee. “I was afraid I would not see a school of this stature happen in my lifetime; and now with the hard work and dedication of so many people, it has finally become a reality."
The automotive class will operate on the semester system and students will initially enroll through recommendations from high school counselors. The students will complete an automotive “boot camp” and progress to the next level of training through an interview process. The CTEC automotive program is funded through the generous support of private donors and Founding Partners. To become a Founding Partner or to make a tax deductible donation, please visit www.TLCfairplex.org (click on “donate now” and choose CTEC Auto/AXC as the designation).