At the age of 17, high school seniors have choices to make that will impact the rest of their lives. Four-year college programs get a lot of attention, but for students who are interested in technical education, the options may seem limited. Subaru University, also called Subaru-U, is a partnership between select ASE Education Foundation schools and Subaru of America, developed as a response to the explosive need for new technicians at retailer service centers and fewer technicians to fill those roles. 

Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, is one of the many schools across the country offering Subaru-specific training alongside the ASE’s curriculum. “This is a different kind of program than any other manufacturer’s,” says Mitch May, Subaru University’s western region educational manager. “It’s about building a pipeline of skilled employees throughout the retailer.” From sales to service advisers to ASE-certified technicians, the idea is to immerse students in Subaru culture. 

“We provide high schools and colleges a partnership with a web-based curriculum,” says Chris Weigel, Subaru of America central region technical training education manager. By providing the web-based curriculum alongside the in-shop training required of an ASE program, “we reach a great deal more people than other programs,” he says. 

Students from Shoreline Community College near Seattle, Washington
Students from Shoreline Community College near Seattle, Washington


For students in high school who want a technical career, love cars and are especially crazy about Subaru products, Subaru University provides a golden opportunity. By infusing Subaru web-based training into the existing curriculum, students can take most of the entry-level training required of all Subaru technicians when they’re as young as 17.

Students at the hundreds of participating Subaru-U partner schools are better prepared for employment in any one of approximately 600 Subaru retailers nationwide. “I don’t think that I would have gotten as far as I have without Subaru University,” says Matthew Carlson, a June 2018 graduate of the Mt. Hood program. “I am so happy that I did this program. The real hands-on experience combined with the in-depth lectures really gives one the ‘tools’ that they need to succeed in their career. I was really lucky that I was already working at a Subaru dealership, so the things I was learning at school were the same things I was learning at work.” 

Students of Portland Community College engine class
Portland Community College engine class

The school year is a balance between classroom time and time in the shop. “The most important thing that I learned how to do better was how to diagnose,” Carlson says. “We learned how to diagnose pretty much anything from electrical circuits to noise and vibrations.” 

Parents, high school teachers and guidance counselors need to understand how great the opportunity is for students with an interest in technology. In all 50 states, the demand for trained, professional automotive technicians has never been higher. Subaru University is there to make sure that Subaru retailers have the trained techs they need and to provide those techs with the skills they require for a fulfilling career focused on their passions.