What We’re About

CAR Vocational Training Program is in Santa Rosa, California.

At first glance you might think that we’re just a car repair school where struggling progressive youth can achieve success and independence in their lives through career training in auto mechanics. The program is designed to be much more than that.

While our mission is to guide participants toward careers as certified automobile repair specialists, we also incorporate work and life mentoring, supporting excellence, generating pride, while jump starting students toward a more valuable and productive role as a member of the community.

We’ve arranged for state-of-the-art equipment and facilities through funding by donor organizations and private community members. And we’ve asked iconic leaders within the industry to share some of their time and energy to mentor and motivate participants as they choose specialties and follow a program that may allow them to qualify for ASE certification, which they can carry with them into their careers.


Of course, the curriculum includes repairing typical current model automobiles. But, unlike any other program we know of, this one includes working on older and classic street cars, including hot rods and rare collector’s show cars.  Besides the sheer fascination and fun of delving into the mechanics of past eras, what’s also stimulating is that we often need to tackle problems and fabricate solutions with simple human ingenuity and finesse – using our intellect to guide our hands.

The results are often stunning and truly valuable lessons from both a mechanical perspective as well as fresh appreciation for how to solve problems successfully, leading to a sense of pride and achievement.

In this way, students will find that they develop life traits and lifelong friendships while improving their earning potential, chances for longterm success, and personal independence.


Much of what we do is about establishing a rich atmosphere of unique experiences that can motivate and energize students in life-changing ways.

We recruit students (male and female aged approximately 16-23) who are recommended by approved and licensed youth programs. Not everyone will qualify. Those who exhibit a record of wanting to work hard on building a better future for themselves are the ones most likely to be chosen to join the CAR program. Those who miss the cut the first time around, hopefully will be motivated to work harder to earn the privilege of joining a future class.

We offer technical and trade training customized to a student’s chosen specialty, from fabrication and mechanics…to upholstery and finishing. As a class group we embark on a project that includes rebuilding a vehicle inside and out, along with design details that make a difference. On the human side, we will learn to work as a team share ideas, and solve unforeseen problems patiently and efficiently.

In addition to a high ratio of teachers-to-students and daily mentoring by the program’s regular staff of full time and part time professionals, the CAR curriculum includes a rare opportunity to meet guest experts and various leaders in the industry. Some may be well-known celebrities who have involvement with automobiles as a hobby while others are important icons in the industry who share their hard-earned wisdom about autos and life success.

Being recognized for personal and class achievement is an important part of the program. We plan to take the class project vehicle on the road to publicly display it. Press will be notified and public invited. Students will have a chance to answer questions and comment on the history they’ve restored into their vehicle and the history they’ve made in their participation in this unique program. For students, this is a valuable and rare opportunity to be widely recognized for their achievements as graduates of the program – possibly even making connections with future employers.

We feel there should be a payback of sorts anytime “good” is done and people benefit. Beyond introducing newly trained experts into the automobile industry, the program also uplifts participants by improving productivity and independence among those who participate while improving their community along the way. And there’s more: We also plan to take each class-finished “CAR car” to a benefit auction that permits us to tell our story in a meaningful way, and raise additional funds toward future class work. For the CAR program itself, this completes a sort of full cycle of sustainability  by ensuring a wider segment of the public can recognize the value of the CAR Vocational Training Program, elevate future involvement and support of experts and funding sources, and ultimately allow the organization to embark on a path of continued success and growth, serving more students each year.