UWA receives investment for new automotive technician programBy Matt Cole Published 4:34pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The University of West Alabama will receive a $100,500 investment from the Delta Regional Authority to purchase equipment in a new automotive technician program.
Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall gave UWA its notice to proceed to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for trainees in the Mercedes-Benz Automotive Technician Program. The program will allow trainees from west Alabama to acquire the necessary skills and technical knowledge to meet the entry-level requirements of employment in the automotive field.
“Building a well-trained workforce is a crucial part of sustaining this region’s economy,” Marshall said. “Equipping the west Alabama workforce with the skills needed to work in the automotive industry will allow them to gain good-paying jobs close to home.”
During an event announcing the funds Wednesday, the UWA College of Business Department of Computer Information Systems and Technology had a demonstration of the equipment that will be used in the program. The equipment was made specifically for the program, and it is a scaled-down version of what students will one day find in an industry setting.
Dr. Balakrishna Gokaraju said the machine has the same functionality as the machines in the factories, but on a smaller scale.
“This is a consolidated system for training the students,” he said. “This gives the students to use a system like what they will use when they get into the industries.”
Two students from Demopolis, Johnny Morgan and Ron Richardson, gave the demonstration during the event.
The program will allow students to be certified upon graduation as automotive technicians. The certification program is planned to be a permanent addition to UWA’s workforce offerings. The three-semester certification program begin in fall 2013 with 15 trainees, with an additional 15 students being admitted each semester on an ongoing basis.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Delta Regional Authority on this initiative that we know will empower our workforce and have a lasting and profound impact on economic development throughout our service region and beyond,” UWA President Richard D. Holland said. “Because of the support provided by the DRA, we are able to further our mission of improving the quality of life in the Black Belt through education and enrichment. The benefits of this program will be seen for many years to come.”