ASCC-TTD Receives Donation for Automotive Program

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

May 8, 2019

ASCC Trades & Technical Department (TTD) Program Director Fred Suisala (front, right), instructor Jonathan Pouesi, and automotive class students gather around the Ford Explorer donated to the TTD by the USDA-NRCS. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

Near the end of the spring 2019 semester, the automotive instruction program at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), which falls under the institution’s Trades & Technical Department (TTD), received a major boost when the local branch of the United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Services (USDA-NRCS) donated one of its vehicles for the TTD’s use. Earlier this month, the TTD received a 2003 Ford Explorer in working condition from the USDA-NRCS. “This donation will greatly assist and enable the students in the automotive program to perform tasks to meet its outcomes,” said TTD Program Director Fred Suisala.

Suisala credits Joe Uiagalelei, USDA-NRCS Soil Conservation Technician, along with the agency’s Regional Director Richard Harris and their local office, with arranging the donation. “Mr. Uiagalelei informed me that USDA-NRCS wasn’t using this particular vehicle anymore,” said Suisala, “and he asked if it would be of use to our automotive program.” Thanks to the donation, the ASCC-TTD now has a “live” vehicle with which to do demonstrations, services, and diagnostics to compliment the theory portion of their automotive courses.

Suisala explained that in the past, the program relied on student, faculty and/or staff vehicles for performing the required tasks dictated by the automotive courses. “Now we have our own vehicle to ‘play with’ to meet course requirements,” he said, “and we won’t have to worry about liability issues.” Suisala added that the TTD is considering refurbishing the Explorer and affixing their department logo on it, making it a moving billboard to promote their programs and recruit interested students.

When asked whether the TTD regularly accepts donations of used vehicles, Suisala made clear that the department considers contributions such as this to be the exception rather than the rule. “TTD encourages the public and the private sector to make donations of needed tools and equipment to assist our programs,” he said. “If something’s in good working condition, and especially if it’s not outdated, then we might be able to use it. At the same time, we need to be careful to not become known as a place where we’ll take any kind of unwanted equipment.”

The mission of the Trade & Technical Department is to equip students with knowledge and technical skills in their vocational specialties, through the issuance of Certificates of Completion (COC), Certificate of Proficiencies (COP) and Associate of Science (AS) degrees, based on national standards, with input from local, public and private entities. The TTD develops programs that prepare students for entry-level employment. It also offers instruction to upgrade the skills of incumbent workers and prepares them for professional licensure and certification. The preparatory training at the TTD establishes a foundation for students seeking to further their education and training beyond ASCC. To meet its mission, the department’s degree and certificate programs include Architectural Drafting Technology, Auto Body Repair, Automotive Technology, Carpentry, Civil Engineering Technology, Computer Technical Support, Electronics, Electrical Technology, and Welding.

The TTD also offers evening trade courses through its Apprenticeship & Workforce Development (AWD) program that is currently in session. The AWD is a 10-week program with courses that meet twice weekly. The next AWD session will tentatively get underway in August, 2019. For more information on TTD programs, see the ASCC Catalog, available online at