The much anticipated, official grand opening of the Gateway Community & Technical College Transportation Technology Center took place today with an open house and ribbon cutting.
"This is much more than just a building. It is really an economic development tool," said Ken Paul, chair of the Gateway Board of Directors. "Anybody can walk through that front door, unexperienced, with no skills and walk back out as an auto technician, a diesel technician, collision repair technician, truck driver, or even get hired by Ford."
Industry partners, city, county and state officials, Gateway leadership, students, faculty and staff celebrated the opening of the Transportation Technology Center at 1051 Dudley Road, Fort Wright. This location is part of Gateway's Urban Metro Campus.
"We are so pleased to offer our students this state-of-the-art, real-world classroom," said Dr. Fernando Figueroa, Gateway president. "This facility offers one of many opportunities at Gateway to find your talents and express them while making a great living."
This 33,291 square foot facility is home to Gateway's Automotive Technology, Ford Asset, Collision Repair, Diesel Technology and Commercial Drivers Licensing (CDL) programs.
"The students are working in the exact same environment here as they would out in the field," said Sam Collier, Dean of Transportation Technologies. "We are giving them a true experience. Students like Nicholas Sturgil are very excited to learn in classrooms set up much like the dealerships he hopes to work for some day."
"Dealerships are always looking for good technicians with experience in the latest technology in today's vehicles," said Rick Elliott, Technical Support Operations Manager for Ford Motor Company. "There's never been a better time to consider a career as an automotive service technician."
The impact of the programs housed in this new facility was best expressed by Shannon Hart, a Gateway graduate. "They taught me to be an employee that my company can't do without," Hart said. "I went from making $9 an hour to making $60,000 a year and that is all because of this program and Gateway's instructors."
Gateway classes begin Jan. 9. For more information about Gateway's Transportation Technologies programs contact email@example.com or call 859.442.1146.