VWCC launches expanded auto tech program

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Virginia Western Community College’s School of Career and Corporate Training (CCT) and School of Business, Trades, and Technology (BTT), in collaboration with the Berglund Automotive Group, will offer expanded automotive service technician training beginning January 2020. Students can learn the skills they need in as little as five weeks to start an in-demand career as a general service technician. Most classes will be offered in the evening or on Saturday mornings, allowing students to keep their day jobs.

There is a national shortage of automotive service
technicians as many experienced workers retire. In the Roanoke metropolitan
statistical area, there were 847 automotive service technician jobs in 2018, 26
percent more than the national average, according to Emsi. There were 52 active
job postings in the average month and the median hour earnings were $19.35. Employer
demand and automotive classes with waiting lists encouraged the college to
offer more classes at a new Franklin Road location.

Berglund and its president, William J. Farrell II, were
integral in helping this expansion hit the road. Berglund donated class space
at one of its facilities-a former automotive dealership-where students can
train in an automotive shop under supervision of a qualified instructor. In
addition, Farrell and his family created a permanently endowed fund with the
Virginia Western Educational Foundation to support students through
scholarships.

“In our business, we have a very tough time filling all of
the automotive technician opportunities that we have. It has become such a
specialized field,” said Farrell, who is the treasurer for the Educational
Foundation Board of Directors. “We felt that this was the best way for us to
give back to the whole community – to grow a regional workforce not only for
us, as an automotive group, but for all of our automotive colleagues in the Valley.
We are glad to be a part of growing automotive opportunity for the entire
region.”

The new training facility on Franklin Road will permit the
college to offer more of its already in-demand automotive courses, combined
with brand new entry-level and continuing education workshops for new and
practicing automotive technicians.  A
variety of courses will begin in January 2020, from Automotive Electricity I,
to Automotive On-Ramp (General Service) Training, and exam preparation for
Virginia State Safety Inspectors. Depending on the type of course, students may
be eligible for tuition assistance such as scholarship through the Virginia
Western Educational Foundation.

“We are excited to join with an automotive industry
partner to offer this program in a real working environment,” said Dr. Milan
Hayward, Vice President of the School of Career and Corporate Training.
“Students will acquire the skills they need to succeed and find mobility across
many potential employers in our region.”

For more information on the automotive service technician
program and to learn how to enroll, please call 540-857-6076 or visit:  https://virginiawestern.edu/workforce
or https://www.virginiawestern.edu/academics/transportation.php.
To learn more about potential scholarships, please visit the Educational
Foundation web site at:  https://virginiawestern.edu/foundation/index.php.

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