As older auto technicians retire and the pace at which they’re replaced lags, more vehicle dealership associations are doing something about it by forming their own training centers. The latest to do so is the Greater Memphis Auto Dealers Association (GMADA), which broke ground last year on what it has named Moore Tech Auto Technician School. The facility, which is located at 2785 South Mendenhall Road in Memphis, is wholly owned by the GMADA.
The school, which opened last week, is a 40,000 square-foot state-of-the-art educational facility that will teach students the skills they need to secure full-time automotive technician careers. Students will graduate with a two-year Associates Degree and the opportunity to earn automotive service excellence (ASE) Student Certification in eight ASE categories.
The grand opening of the facility is the culmination of the GMADA’s four-year effort to raise $4 million, find a site and equip a vocational school in an effort to forestall a shortage of trained vehicle mechanics in the region. William R. Moore College of Technology, a private vocational school in Memphis, will operate the school for powertrain technicians. The new facility is equipped with eight classrooms that can fit in as many as 400 students. Hoists are in place to lift vehicles between $50,000 wheeled tool boxes containing wrenches and other hand tools.
“When they walk into one of our shops, it’ll look just like this,” Landers Auto Group president Kent Ritchey, head of the dealers’ association, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal as he toured the service bay in the new school last week.
The first class of 39 students is expected to graduate within two years, most of them owing no school debt, and find permanent jobs at auto dealers. Tuition for the program runs $10,500 per year. State tuition assistance through the Tennessee Promise program is available for qualifying students.
Founded in 1916, the GMADA is comprised of more than 50 new-car dealerships in the Greater Memphis area. Members of the GMADA employ over 3,000 people, and the participating dealerships sell over $3 billion in automobiles and services annually.