Wake Tech opens new state-of-the-art facility to train students for auto repair careers :: WRAL.com

— A new training center for students interested in careers in the automotive industry opens Wednesday — a big step for preparing a workforce for an industry with growing opportunity, especially in NC.

There are currently hundreds of available jobs in Wake County for automotive repair, but the openings are not being filled, according to Wake Technical Community College.

Wake Tech leaders hope the new Hendrick Center for Automotive Excellence will close the gap by tripling the number of students in Wake Tech’s automotive systems technology program and adding a new degree program in collision repair, officials say.

Emelyn Leon Lopez

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday celebrated the opening of the Hendrick Center for Automotive Excellence at Wake Tech’s Northern campus. Gov. Roy Cooper, Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls and other local leaders in the industry spoke at the event at the Wake Tech Auto Tech Studio.

The school is named after automotive industry icon Rick Hendrick, who will also attend the ceremony.

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The $42 million state-of-the-art facility is on Wake Tech’s Scott Northern Wake Campus. According to a press release, the building features a 16,500 sq. ft. automotive systems lab with 13 lifts and two wheel alignment machines. It also includes a 15,000 sq. ft. collision repair lab with six lifts, four paint booths, and two frame straighteners.

There is also a performance lab for engine and transmission classes, rooms for testing engines and transmissions, a welding lab, eight classrooms, three computer labs and a conference room. Glass walls inside the facility allow visitors to observe training without disrupting students.

Students in the automotive systems program at Wake Tech can obtain specialized training with Audi, Ford, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Toyota/Lexus.

The Hendrick Center will prepare students for jobs that are in high demand at local dealerships and service centers, officials said.