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Santa Ana Creates Fleet Internship Program

May 31, 2013

Intern Felipe Maldonado (in white) stands with fleet staff (l-r) Ulice Contreras, fleet manager Rick Longobart, and Ruben Esparza.
Intern Felipe Maldonado (in white) stands with fleet staff (l-r) Ulice Contreras, fleet manager Rick Longobart, and Ruben Esparza.

The City of Santa Ana, Calif., has created a fleet maintenance internship program that offers internship opportunities to Santa Ana College (SAC) Automotive Department students. The program is a joint collaboration between Rick Longobart, City of Santa Ana fleet, facilities & central stores manager; Francisco Gutierrez, City of Santa Ana finance director; and Bart Hoffman, SAC dean for career education and workforce development.

Launched in Spring 2013 with six interns, the program provides SAC Automotive interns with hands-on work experience in the City’s Facilities-Fleet Maintenance-Central Stores (FMCS) operations. Interns perform maintenance and repair work on City vehicles under the direct supervision of ASE-certified FMCS fleet technicians and earn academic credit toward an associate degree or as transfer units to a four-year university.

Santa Ana resident Felipe Maldonado, an intern, credits several FMCS fleet technicians for the “very positive learning experience” he gained from the program. In addition to learning how to perform preventive maintenance and repairs, Maldonado said technicians “also taught me about deeper, more technical things like torque measurements and working with engine controllers.” He said the knowledge will be useful when he transfers to California State University Fullerton (CSUF) to pursue a bachelor’s degree mechanical engineering.

Through the program, students get academic credit and work experience while FMCS gets skilled labor at no cost to the City. The internships are unpaid positions as they are part of SAC’s Cooperative Work Experience academic curriculum. SAC also provides Workers’ Compensation coverage to the students for the duration of the internship. To ensure interns go through a true educational experience, SAC requires interns to document their learning objectives and accomplishments in addition to getting 60 hours of hands-on fleet work experience. The first group of interns will complete the program in Summer 2013. 

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