Juma Mohamed has always been an automotive enthusiast. He decided to pursue that enthusiasm and applied to Los Angeles, Pierce College, taking into account its location and available automotive courses that keep up with the changing trends in the industry.
Through Network Kinection and Pierce College's partnership to provide career-ready students with entry-level positions (internships and apprenticeships) in their desired career field, Juma was able to get an internship with the Ford Motor Company. In his own words, he shares his internship experience as an intern with Ford as well as a plethora of advice for students eager to get in the driver's seat of the automotive industry.
NK: What led to your decision to study architectural technology at LA, Pierce College?
JM: I’ve always been interested in how things work both mechanical and electrical. Being an automotive enthusiast, I decided to take a few automotive classes. I initially picked Pierce College for its proximity to my place of residence and being a community college, I would end up spending less money than I would’ve at a private school like UTI and still get quality education. My experience at Pierce College was memorable. They have knowledgeable dedicated instructors, most, if not all, have years of experience working in the automotive industry. Their automotive shop is big with everything you’ll need. They even got another new shop for electric cars. Pierce College keeps up with changing trends in the automotive industry.
NK: What were some of your responsibilities at your internship? What advice do you have for students who are interested in applying for internships within the automotive field?
JM: I got an internship at Ford; found out they tend to hire applicants with some experience usually from small shops or other dealers. But if you’ve taken some classes at Pierce and also have certificates from Ford training website you will most likely get hired. Show some enthusiasm and be knowledgeable especially during the interview. New hires at Ford are paired with a veteran technician to shadow for a week or two before the shop foreman asks if you’re ready to go on your own. If not, they give you more time. Your responsibilities: oil changes, draining and filling, changing filters, tire rotation, checking their general condition if they’re old or wearing abnormally (an indication of bad alignment), measuring their tread depth and filling them with air to their recommended PSI. Inspecting brakes for wear and general condition. Inspecting wiper blades and topping off under hood fluids, usually coolant and washer fluid. Inspecting and changing cabin and engine air filter if dirty and customer approves. I had to learn how to use power tools; take every opportunity during lab to get comfortable using the air gun and racking up a car on a hoist. Your understanding of a vehicle’s build will come handy, unibody or body over frame. Take your lectures and labs seriously, especially if you’re lacking in experience -they’ll be your saving grace. Remember to torque all your wheels the right way (star pattern). Careful not to cross thread any lug nuts. Also, be comfortable with using a torque wrench; you’ll use one on almost every car you work on. Lastly, be very keen in everything you do as a rookie - they’ll expect you to make mistake. But you don’t want to be the guy that drained engine oil and didn’t put any back in; some mistakes have potential for job loss. No matter how hectic it gets, take time to reflect on what you’re doing.