Delaware Technical Community College in August broke ground on the Automotive Center of Excellence in Georgetown. The 13,500-square-foot facility at the College’s Owens Campus is the home of the first diesel mechanic training program in the region.
The new facility is designed to support a growing job market. A total of 3,000 automotive technicians and more than 800 diesel mechanics are employed across Delmarva with average annual earnings of $39,874 and $44,595, respectively. Over the next 10 years, labor data indicates there will be 948 job openings for diesel mechanics and a 17 percent job growth rate.
“The construction of this facility is in direct response to a dire workforce need for more diesel mechanics and auto technicians in our state and our region,” Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard said. “We are thankful for the generous support of our government and community partners, who are the reason we are able to break ground on this project today.”
The $5.4 million center will double the number of automotive technicians trained at Delaware Tech in Georgetown from 20 to 40. It will train a total of 15 diesel mechanics per year.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration supported the project with a $1.97 million grant toward construction. Delaware’s Higher Education Fund chipped in $1.8 million, and Sussex County contributed $120,000.
“For years we’ve heard that there are just not enough auto technicians in Delaware, which is why I’ve long supported the Economic Development Administration grant to help this Automotive Center for Excellence program get up and running, and I’ve waited a long time for this groundbreaking,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “This Center will give students on Delmarva a great-paying trade to learn, allow them to stay and raise a family in the area instead of moving away for work, and give our area dealerships and diesel operators the workforce they so desperately need. This is a win-win for Delaware’s economy now and in the future.”
The following organizations and individuals have pledged donations that enabled the College to secure the 35 percent match required by the EDA:
- Floyd A. Megee Motor Company i.g. Burton & Company
- Preston Auto Group
- USDA – Rural Development
- Winner Automotive Group
- Carman Auto Group
- First State Chevrolet
- Willis Ford
- Chevrolet of Dover
- Matt Slap Subaru
- The Volvo Group
- AutoTeam Delaware
- Bumpers and Company
- Matt Kehoe
- Meineke of Lewes
- Nancy Jo and William Pepper
- Delaware Automobile and Truck Dealers’ Association
The expected completion date for the center is November 2020.
Pictured, from left, Dr. Mark Brainard, College president; Michael Vincent, Sussex County Council president; Charlie Burton, i.g. Burton; Terry Megee, Megee Motor Co.; Sen. Tom Carper; Dr. Bobbi Barends, vice president and campus director; Dennis Alvord, deputy assistant director for regional affairs, Economic Development Administration; and Linda Cruz-Carnall, regional director at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.