NC3’s School on the Rise: February 2022

NC3’s School on the Rise: January 2022
January 24, 2022
NC3 Staff Spotlight: Bora Myles
February 21, 2022
NC3’s School on the Rise: January 2022
January 24, 2022
NC3 Staff Spotlight: Bora Myles
February 21, 2022

Van Nuys High School, California

Congratulations to Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California for being chosen as NC3’s February 2022 School on the Rise! Van Nuys High School has been a Certification Center since 2016. With an outstanding Snap-on Automotive Certification Program, Van Nuys High School has supported nearly 1000 students in their community as they pursue careers in the local automotive industry! 

Through partnerships with local businesses, industry representatives, dual enrollment opportunities, and the encouragement of Van Nuys High Schools teachers and administrators, these automotive students are able to hone the skills and knowledge they need to begin promising careers in their region’s workforce. 

Joe Agruso, Van Nuys Automotive Instructor, worked in the industry for several years before making the transition into education and he wouldn’t have it any other way! He says, “I honestly think industry should be a pathway for all Career Technical Education teachers. That way they can recognize where there are shortages and what the needs are in the industry so that they can address the students and prepare them for a career field.”

Like many instructors, attending NC3 Train-the-Trainer really set Van Nuys High Schools Certification Program in motion! Joe says,

I had an NC3 Kit in my classroom for about 3 years before actually using it. Finally, after speaking with my Snap-on Rep, I went to Train-the-Trainer and it was an eye opener for me. I learned so many tips and tricks from the Master Instructors and other educators. It was really nice to put the NC3 curriculum into my classroom and also to provide my students with certifications.

Since attending his first Train-the-Trainer, Joe has continued on to offer 20 NC3/Snap-on Certifications to his automotive students.

Joe recognizes the importance of earning NC3 Certifications and the practical knowledge his students can gain that sets them apart when applying for positions in the field. He says,

What I really like about NC3 Certifications is that the lab exercises take the students out of the textbook and give them hands-on experience. Instead of just reading about it and theorizing in the classroom, they’re working with their hands and actually practicing on the equipment they’ll be using on the job. Once the students start putting all of these certifications in their portfolio, the feeling of self-worth really starts to grow.

Students at Van Nuys High School have a tremendous amount of opportunities to advance their careers in the automotive industry. Whether through internships with local businesses or by earning college credits through dual-enrollment, students can choose the educational pathway that best suits their goals! Joe mentions,

We had 3 students graduate their internship programs at Galpin Ford, which is one of the primary industries here, and they got jobs in their chosen departments! We’ve got 4 students starting the same internship program soon and Galpin Ford has asked for 10 more! There’s a technician shortage right now and the local industries are really tapping into our schools to find certified candidates.

The support of local businesses is a testament to the success of Van Nuys High School’s Automotive Program. Joe remarks on a recent conversation by saying, 

The Service Manager at Galpin Ford, John Curley, said that he was so impressed with our students, their professionalism, and their accomplishments that he’s just floored. He told me a lot of the professionals he interviews are not as apt or ready for a job as the students that come out of our program. That’s why he’s so supportive of internships and hiring our students.

Joe continues by stating, “when an employer is looking at resumes and they see all these certifications from one of my students, they can see that my student can already do all these things that are requested of them and are already caught up to the industry standards.”

While internships are a huge benefit to Van Nuys High School students, it’s not the only pathway at their disposal! Dual enrollment opportunities with Pierce College, a local community college, have encouraged many students to pursue post-secondary education. Joe says,

Most of the students who are going through our Automotive program are moving on to post-secondary education. We have a dual enrollment program with Pierce College and a lot of our students at Van Nuys High School are earning college credits during their junior and senior years here. By the time they graduate, they’ll have earned around 20 units of college credit.

The success of Van Nuys High School’s CTE Program wouldn’t be possible without Administrative backing and the support of Snap-on. Joe says, 

We’ve had tremendous support from our administration towards our CTE programs. We recently transitioned to a new Principal, Lourdes De Santiago-Ramirez, and we’ve been really blessed to have her. I’m also really proud of our Snap-on Sales Representative, Nick Porretta. He’s come to our school and has promoted NC3 as a tool for our students and has promoted education through certifications. He’s unbelievable! He saw the program and has bridged the gap between career and education really well. I’m really happy to have him as an asset to our program.

So, what’s next for Van Nuys High School? Joe explains some of his goals for the future! He says,

My goals for the automotive department are to start incorporating more certifications back into our curriculum. We’ve been out of the classroom for 2 years now and it’s been difficult for us to issue as many certifications to our students as we have in the past. I would also love to get back to Train-the-Trainer so I can start offering new certifications and grow our program in that regard as well.

Thank you to everyone at Van Nuys High School for pursuing excellence in bettering the lives and careers of your students and your community! We are honored to recognize you as NC3’s February 2022 School on the Rise. Congratulations, once again, from all of us at NC3!

Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in March 2022!

Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985,

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