In some parts of the country today, the need for qualified service mechanics is becoming so urgent that car dealers are partnering with the federal government to open new training programs for technicians. The most recent example of this is at Delaware Technical Community College, which received a $1.97 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), according to Delaware Business Now. The drive behind the effort came from Terry Megee, owner of Floyd A. Megee Motor Company in Georgetown, Delaware. Terry and Vanessa Megee were the leaders in the effort to raise matching funds needed for the new school.
The funds will go toward building a 13,500-square foot facility called the “Automotive Center of Excellence” on Delaware Technical Community College’s Georgetown campus. The new facility, along with Delaware Tech ’s new training center in Middletown, will have a claim to fame: it will house the first diesel mechanic training program in the region, something that’s urgently needed.
“Our mission is to respond to workforce needs in this state,” said Mark Brainard, president of Delaware Tech. “There is a dire need for diesel mechanics, and this training facility will help us fill those jobs with Delawareans. I want to thank Senator (Tom) Carper for his diligent and tireless work to help us secure this grant, and I also want to thank the generous local donors who stepped up to support this initiative.”
Delaware Tech, the only community college in the state, is an open admission institution that is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The college offers more than 100 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs in the fields of Agriculture, Business, Computer Technology, Culinary Arts, Education, Energy and Engineering, Health and Science, Public Service, Transportation, and Visual Communications.
Once it’s built, the Automotive Center of Excellence (ACOE) will double the number of automotive technicians trained at Delaware Tech in Georgetown each year from 20 to 40 and will allow the college to train up to 15 diesel mechanics per year, according to Delaware Business Now. The total cost to build the ACOE is $3 million, and the grant will cover 65 percent of the construction. The rest of the funds will come from 35 organizations in the area, many of them auto dealerships.