BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The need for qualified auto mechanics is nearing an all-time high in the Capital region, according to industry experts.
Officials at the Baton Rouge Community College are hoping to fill that need with the opening of the McKay Automotive Technology Center. The center will train students to become automotive technicians and equip them to work on diesel engines as well.
Guarino said the days of just tinkering under the hood are over.
"The industry is changing every day," Guarino said. "You could go to bed tonight knowing everything about automotive and I think there would be something new in the morning. This is a field where there's no limits you decide how far you want to take this."
Guarino said the $25 million project is a public-private partnership that will offer students a two-year program with paid internships after just the first semester. It will not only train new students, but train those already in the workforce.
"I'm very excited. This is just amazing. I get goose bumps when I walk through the place," Guarino said. "It's an automotive community center that the automotive and diesel guys have needed for years."
Auto mechanics are in such a need that groups, like All Star Automotive, used to bring them in from Texas.
Matt McKay is the president and CEO of the All Star Automotive Group. He is also one of the people who spearheaded the project.
"We started this project about nine years ago working from the ground up," McKay said. "What was the need? The need was huge them and it's even huger now. The cars are so technical. You're talking about electrical cars, cars that drive themselves so much of it is computerization."
Officials said construction is almost complete on the center. Students can expect to enroll this fall.
"This is a great career. And the young people can make a lot of money, retirement all the dealerships have programs to make this a career. We want this to be a career for them," McKay said.
For additional information, contact the BRCC Automotive Technology Department at (225) 216-8338, or by email to email@example.com.