Calhoun Community College Cuts Ribbon for New $7 Million Automotive Technology Building on Its Decatur CampusOctober 15, 2020
Calhoun Community College faculty and staff, elected officials, and local business leaders assembled at the College’s Decatur campus to cut a ribbon for its brand new 23,400 square-foot, approximately $7 million Automotive Technology Building.
“This year, we faced many obstacles with maneuvering our in-person classes online, and working more closely with our students to ensure they were able to adjust and get the resources they needed to complete their courses,” commented Dr. Joe Burke, Calhoun’s Interim President. “As I look into the crowd, it warms my heart to see our very first cohort of automotive students learning in this building through hands-on training. A few months ago this was something we didn’t think would happen, but we’ve found a way to train students in a safe environment, and for that, it is a great day,” added Burke.
In 2017, the College received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to build the facility, which is expected to create 219 jobs and generate $32 million in private investments. “This is more than a ribbon-cutting ceremony,” commented Arthur Orr, Alabama State Senator. “This monumental event is about the people who will pass through the doors of this building and obtain a skilled trade that will allow them to enter into the workforce and earn a great living that will help support their families,” added Orr.
The two-year program has a curriculum that will provide entry-level skills necessary to enter into and excel in the automotive service and repair industry. “I represent the many franchises that came together and decided that the Tennessee Valley needed a technical school that will assist in producing more skilled automotive technicians,” commented Cathy Anderson, Woody Anderson Ford Dealer. “We now have that, and appreciate the dedicated instructors who are now reaching students in middle school and exposing them to the automotive industry at an early and impressionable age,” added Anderson.
“Alabama has gone from 0 jobs in automotive production over 23 years ago to producing more than 1.3 million vehicles and engines annually,” commented Mo Brooks, United States Representative for Alabama’s 5th congressional district. “The state is making tremendous progress. We have Mazda Toyota within close proximity that will employ over 4,000 people and the students graduating from this program will have an opportunity to fill those jobs,” added Brooks.
“The Alabama Legislature is very supportive of the community college system,” commented Mac McCutcheon, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. “This cooperative effort began at the local and state level and was presented to Washington. This building as well as the students who are enrolled in the program have become another shining star for our state,” added McCutcheon.
“We are so appreciative of the companies that have chosen to partner with us to train our students and provide them with jobs after they’ve completed the program, commented John Holley, Calhoun’s Dean of Technologies. “We hope to increase these types of partnerships and continue to expand this program for many years to come,” said Holley.
The program is in the process of obtaining accreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). The automotive program also plans to become a Master Automobile Service Technician (MAST) accredited program. This accreditation will include suspension and steering, brakes, engine performance, engine repair, heating & air conditioning, electrical/electronic systems, automatic transmission/transaxle and manual drive transmission and axles.
To learn more about the program, visit https://catalog.calhoun.edu/automotive-technology.