When students complete the New Community Workforce Development Center Automotive Technician program, sponsored by Ford Motor Company, the goal is to find a job. Strong employer partnerships help link graduates to employment opportunities and make the program more beneficial.
One strong and lasting partnership is with Rich Liebler, Chief Administrative Officer and Veteran Coordinator for Sansone Auto Group. Liebler helped start NCC’s Automotive Technician program in 1996.
“I was friends with Edsel Ford, the great grandson of Henry Ford. I represented all the Ford dealers in the United States. And I got together with him and said that we need to do more in the urban areas for helping at-risk youth and plus we need technicians and employees for the automobile business,” Liebler said.
Ford Motor Company and Liebler put together funding and came to New Community with a proposal to start an automotive training program. Twenty-two years later, the program is still going strong.
In 1996, Liebler owned Hillside Auto Mall. He sold that dealership in 2008 and later was recruited by Sansone Auto Group, where he started working in 2010. Throughout the changes over 22 years, Liebler remained involved in the automotive training program at New Community Workforce Development Center.
“I love working with New Community because there’s genuine interest there,” he said.
In his current role at Sansone Auto Group, Liebler helps connect graduates to open positions. He is also working to institute a program with Sansone that allows students to work part-time during the week and on Saturdays while enrolled so that they have income and are more easily able to complete the training.
New Community Workforce Development Center Director Rodney Brutton said he is grateful for the partnership with Liebler and Sansone Auto Group.
“Rich’s history with our program and ongoing advocacy for our students should be applauded,” Brutton said. “Thanks to employer partners like Rich, Sansone and others, New Community Workforce Development Center’s automotive training program, sponsored by Ford, has been able to maintain its status for over 20 years.”
One of the graduates who has a job with Sansone Auto Group is Noah Deverel. He is 20 years old and completed the Automotive Technician program in 2017. He currently works at a Hyundai dealership doing pre-delivery inspections on new vehicles.
Deverel has always been interested in cars and wanted to learn how to fix them. He was part of Newark Deputy Mayor of Employment Rahaman Muhammad’s mentoring program and that’s how he became a student at New Community Workforce Development Center.
“We appreciate the deputy mayor’s office referring quality young men like Noah to our programs,” Brutton said. “Noah was ready to work and committed to completing the program. He knew what his career goals were.”
Deverel felt prepared for his work after receiving the training.
“Mr. Z [John Zaccheus, Lead Automotive Technician Instructor,] and Winston [Thomas, Automotive Technician Instructor,] are very, very good teachers. They never let me down. They stayed with me 100 percent of the way,” Deverel said. “You just have to trust the process and they’re going to help you. Everybody is very supportive.”
Liebler said Deverel is making progress in his career and as an automotive technician has the potential to earn $50,000 in five years.
Deverel has high aspirations.
“My overall goal is to be a head tech somewhere,” he said.
Brutton said Deverel is on his way to achieving that goal.
“We’re proud of Noah’s growth and the entire staff sees a wealth of potential in his future as an automotive technician,” Brutton said.
Those interested in enrolling in any New Community Workforce Development Center program should fill out an intake form at www.newcommunity.org, call 973-824-6284 or visit the main offices at 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.