Augusta Tech expands footprint into former dealership; automotive program to be ready to roll in 2023


Flanked by students in Augusta Tech's automotive technology program, school President Dr. Jermaine Whirl (left) and Jim Hudson, founder of Jim Hudson Automotive Group, hold an oversized $1 million donation check at Jim Hudson Lexus on Thursday.

Flanked by learners in Augusta Tech’s automotive technological innovation software, college President Dr. Jermaine Whirl (left) and Jim Hudson, founder of Jim Hudson Automotive Group, maintain an outsized $1 million donation test at Jim Hudson Lexus on Thursday.

By early upcoming 12 months, Augusta Tech’s new automotive technological know-how campus will rework a former Walton Way car dealership into a simulated finding out atmosphere.

The faculty ceremonially accepted a $1 million donation for the challenge – originally declared in April – from Columbia, S.C.-dependent Jim Hudson Automotive Team, whose 10 dealership locations include things like a few in Augusta.

“Anybody can market a car,” enterprise founder and principal Jim Hudson explained in the showroom of his Lexus dealership on Washington Highway. “It usually takes a really fantastic technician to preserve it sold.”

What was not disclosed in April was the place the automotive know-how campus would be located. Augusta Tech not long ago obtained the former Johnson Motor Co., a Cadillac dealer that shut its place in 2021 at the edge of the city’s Laney-Walker community.

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Johnson Motor Co., which closed in the summer of 2021, sits empty on Walton Way in Augusta on June 22. The former Cadillac dealership will be the home of Augusta Tech's expanded automotive technology campus.

Johnson Motor Co., which closed in the summer time of 2021, sits empty on Walton Way in Augusta on June 22. The previous Cadillac dealership will be the household of Augusta Tech’s expanded automotive engineering campus.

Hudson’s $1 million, coupled with a separate $1 million donation from Augusta National Golfing Club also introduced in April, will fund a great deal of the design and renovation fees to full the new campus by the end of the year, Tech President Dr. Jermaine Whirl said.

A developing work current market

The expansion of Tech’s automotive software comes at a time when in-desire maintenance employees are anticipated to possess much larger skill sets to conduct work on increasingly technologically-superior vehicles. Electrical and hybrid vehicles will be among the the emerging systems analyzed in higher depth at Tech.

About 69,000 openings for automotive company technicians and mechanics are predicted nationally each 12 months, on common, by the conclude of the decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Stats.

Scheduling the new campus followed months of conversations with area auto sellers, transit organizations and other marketplace stakeholders to gauge their fascination in encouraging maximize the auto-mend talent pool in the Augusta area, Whirl reported.

The plan also will introduce “OEM,” or initial machines producer education, so students can generate certifications to do the job on certain helps make and models of vehicles. Now most OEM instruction is presented only in other metropolitan areas or states, and there’s no guarantee that a worker who leaves Augusta to prepare will return to his Augusta job when coaching is entire, according to Whirl.

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It is really not a new product

Turning auto dealerships into classroom room is new, but not special. In 2019, Moore Tech in Memphis, Tenn., opened its auto technological innovation university in what applied to be a Honda dealership. Oklahoma’s Tulsa Technological innovation Centre opened a satellite campus in 2013 in an old dealership setting up, but the area presents non-automotive courses.

Placing Augusta-space learners in the qualified habitat of a former car dealership will contribute to an additional attribute of Tech’s new application, which will educate students on the enterprise side of the automotive market, for folks who want to develop into income administrators, finance supervisors or proprietors of motor vehicle dealerships.

Tech’s greater auto campus will be capable to accommodate much more automotive learners from its Augusta and Waynesboro campuses. Tech automotive instructor Taylor Bryant mentioned the application at this time teaches 50-55 college students who jockey for work house in a person of the school’s 10 assistance bays in a 10,000-square-foot facility.

The new campus, measuring about 67,000 square ft, will have among 35 and 40 assistance bays, he said.

“It’s one of the biggest matters to transpire to our plan in its history, and I can not wait to see what we’ll be in a position to do with local community investments like this,” Bryant said.

This report at first appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Augusta Tech’s bigger automotive software revving up in 2023


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