Program Helps Orange County Vets Find Success

May 2, 2021 Updated: May 2, 2021

Orange County military veterans and transitioning service members are being invited to participate in the first orientation of OC Driven for Success, a program providing paid training, mentoring, and job placement with Orange County auto dealerships.

Originally launched by the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association (OCADA), OC Driven for Success was initially aimed at developing highly skilled automatic technicians by providing county high school and community college students with training in the automotive sector.

Thanks to a newly formed partnership between OCADA, Orange County, the Orange County Workforce Development Board, and the Orange County Veterans Service Office, the program has expanded its services to members of the military preparing to transition back to civilian life and veterans looking for training and job placement opportunities.

“Orange County has the fourth-largest population of veterans in Southern California,” Supervisor Andrew Do said in a press release. “Through this initiative, they will receive the proper resources and training to prepare them for a new career.

“Our nation owes so much to every veteran who has served and risked their lives defending our democracy and values.”

Opportunities Abound

According to an Orange County Automobile Dealers Association 2020 economic impact report, the county’s 120 franchised auto dealerships employ upwards of 12,000 workers. More than 248,000 vehicles were sold in 2020, resulting in $11.3 billion in sales and $663 million in sales tax.

OCADA represents 120 vehicle dealerships in Orange County that employ more than 3,500 automotive technicians. The organization estimates an annual shortage of 350 automotive technicians annually. OC Driven to Success was developed as a way to mitigate workforce shortages while providing opportunities to military veterans.

In the past five years, 537 students in the OC Driven to Success program went on to attend community college to earn a certificate in automotive technology. It gave them the opportunity to apply for technology-driven positions, offering the potential of six-figure earnings, benefits, and job satisfaction.

“There’s a lot of misconception that being a mechanic, you can’t make a good living,” said Alex, a high school senior who competed in an OC Driven for Success automotive competition, placing second and receiving a scholarship to attend a local community college.

Alex now works at a dealership during the day and attends college classes at night. He began his career as an apprentice technician and has worked closely with a mentor technician to become an expert.

“I love what I do and I am excited to come to work every day,” Alex said through a program testimonial. “Not a lot of people can say that, but my day is fun, my day is my hobby.”

OC Driven for Success will present an orientation on May 6, 2021. More information can be found online or by calling (714) 480-6500.