NYADI: The College of Automotive & Diesel Technology


In many ways, our world is changing at the speed of light. New technology is appearing every day and society is trying to keep up. On the other hand, we are still dependent on technology that’s been around for more than a century, like the automobile. Many Americans find themselves trying to find careers that are dependable yet adaptable enough to be relevant when technology changes. And for those who find themselves on nontraditional paths, finding these careers can be even more difficult. That’s where NYADI, the College of Automotive and Diesel Technology comes in. NYADI’s mission is to provide educational opportunity to students from nontraditional backgrounds who have been underrepresented in higher education and to provide these students with the technical skills and knowledge necessary for successful career entry, development, and advancement. For New Yorkers, this represents an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families, while learning tangible and transferable skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. For NYADI, the opportunity to prepare their neighbors and community members for stable careers means creating a pathway for New Yorkers to take their futures into their own hands.

The Rockaway Advocate had the pleasure of interviewing two people who represent what NYADI means for New York City and the people who live here. The first is Zack Hatten, Director of Institutional Development, and the son of NYADI’s Chairman and CEO, Michael Hatten. The second is Ebonique Griffin, a current NYADI student whose nontraditional path has not stopped her from reaching her dreams.

From the College’s standpoint, NYADI creates opportunities for talented individuals on nontraditional career pathways to be expertly trained in a growing field. Not only that, the College’s newest initiative allows to the school to follow through on its goal to provide career security by offering a college degree. Mr. Hatten described a scenario that occurs too often in this sector, where a young person becomes a mechanic right after high school and spends their youth working with their hands, making a good living. Then, due to injury or age, they are unable to work, creating a sense of uncertainty around their next steps. Mr. Hatten mused, “How do we offer a student the ability for growth in this industry? The only way to offer that, which has been our sole task over the last ten years, is to be able to offer a degree. Now we’re going to be offering general education courses. So now students can not only be mechanics and technicians, which is incredible, but they can also teach the next generation. They can be teachers, managers, and supervisors. They can run their own shops.” Starting last fall, students have enrolled in courses to get an Associate’s degree in Occupational Studies (AOS) in 16 months.

Ebonique Griffin has learned firsthand how NYADI could make a difference for her. Ms. Griffin first attended NYADI 11 years ago and after taking time away, she returned to school and is thriving, thanks to her supportive teachers and mentors. While there are other schools that offer automotive and diesel training, it’s often paired with other disciplines. At NYADI, the focus is specifically on automotive and diesel technology, making it easier for students dive deeper and thrive in the sector. She has hopes of opening a female owned automotive shop and to break into a profession that is traditionally male dominated.

Overall, what NYADI is doing for the community is creating hope for talented people who have been unfairly written off. For Far Rockaway, where less than 50% of adults have a college degree, schools like NYADI allow our residents a chance to build a future for themselves and their families in a field they have a passion in. For more information about NYADI and their opportunities, check them out online at nyadi.edu.