Rio Hondo College’s Automotive Technology Program: Educating the Future of BEV Maintenance

From left to right – Coalition for Clean (CCA) Air Executive Director Joe Lyou, JETSI Outreach Manager Kareem Gongora, Rio Hondo College’s (RHC) Superintendent/President Dr. Marilyn Flores, CCA’s Deputy Director Chris Chavez, APIFM’s Cecilia Su’a, South Coast AQMD Vasileios Papapostolou, and RHC’s Dean of Career and Technical Education Mike Slavich.

On May 9, 2024, Coalition for Clean Air (CCA) joined Rio Hondo College’s Superintendent/President Dr. Marilyn Flores and Dean of Career and Technical Education, Mike Slavich. CCA’s Executive Director Joe Lyou, Deputy Director Chris Chavez, and Joint Electric Truck Scaling Initiative (JETSI) Outreach Manager Kareem Gongora was joined by South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Vasileios Papapostolou and Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement’s Cecilia Su’a for a tour of their automotive facilities and to learn more about their programs.

Rio Hondo College is one of the few community colleges within the state of California that provides a Bachelor of Science Degree in Automotive Technology. The program has been designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the automotive industry, while providing career opportunities.

During the visit, Rio Hondo College showcased the facilities and their partnership with Tesla and the START program, which is possible through their Alternative Fuel Program & Advanced Transportation Technology Program, that focuses on electric vehicle technology.

Pictured: Dean Mike Slavich, known for his expertise and dedication to student success, showcases the Tesla program.

The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, from basic automotive maintenance to advanced diagnostics and repair techniques. Students also have opportunities to earn various certifications, making them highly competitive in the job market.

The program boasts strong industry connections which provides students with internships and job placement opportunities, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for their careers. The JETSI project works closely with Rio Hondo College to connect Automotive Technology students with industry leaders in sustainable transportation to learn about the workforce the students are entering and foster connections for potential job opportunities.

The JETSI project aims to help develop the growing workforce of battery-electric truck and charging infrastructure technicians to further the adaptation of zero-emission technology. With the scaling of battery-electric vehicles into the commercial and passenger transportation sector, the workforce to maximize uptime for the vehicles must scale along with it. Programs such as Rio Hondo College’s Automotive Technology program work to prepare future technicians to operate on modern technology.

To learn more about Rio Hondo College’s Automotive Technology Program and experience with the JETSI Project, visit

Funding Partners

JETSI is jointly financed by California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission ($26.98 million), MSRC ($8 million), and South Coast AQMD ($5.4 million), with an additional $21.7 million from Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison, NFI, and Schneider. JETSI is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.