AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “This is going to help me understand how the numbers work and how everything should be managed,” Ayestas said. “Instead of just doing everything my own way, I want to do it the right way and know what’s going on.” After receiving an associate’s degree in a business or automotive field, students will now be able to stay for a fourth year to work toward a bachelor of business administration degree in management or marketing. “Having this kind of top-end opportunity for students to move into a career with higher pay and better jobs will influence students taking lower level and AA courses,” Peebles said. Plus, he added, there’s always a need among car dealers for educated and highly skilled employees. The Cerritos College automotive technology program, designed to prepare career-minded students for automotive technician jobs, is one of the fastest growing programs at the school, drawing students from as far as the San Fernando Valley and boasting nearly a 100-percent placement rate. Over the years, the department has grown rapidly, drawing floods of students and developing strong ties with dealers. Students can enroll in tracks that specialize in mechanical repair, collision repair, auto service management and alternative fuel vehicles. Some even specialize in a specific carmaker, such as Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. The department has about 700 students in its automotive mechanical repair program and about 400 in the auto-body collision program. The college will launch its first series of Northwood classes in January. Peebles expects 20 to 30 students to enroll at first. “And we’re hoping to ramp this up to have 80 to 100 students,” he said. Meantime, Ayestas is busily taking classes to prepare for the program. “I hope they start soon so I can get in there,” he said. — Jenny Marder can be reached at (562) 499-1278.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NORWALK — Cerritos College automotive students on track to work in the business side of the industry will soon need look no further than their own back yard for schooling. Dubbed a campus within a campus, the private Northwood University will soon set up shop at the school’s auto department to offer a bachelor’s degree program in automotive business administration. “This really kind of takes the lid off of where students can take their careers,” said Dr. Randy Peebles, Cerritos College’s dean of business and technology. Isaac Ayestas, 21, calls himself a customizer. Having worked on cars for as long as he can remember, his dream now is to start a shop that sells after-market accessories for cars, such as lights, radios and alarms. He’s already been through a dealership apprentice program at the college, and plans to start the Northwood program in January.