Local businesses, elected officials, industry executives, and education and community leaders gathered Wednesday night to commemorate the grand opening of Universal Technical Institute’s new state-of-the-industry campus in Bloomfield, New Jersey.
The company’s 13th campus and its first in the Tri-State area, UTI-Bloomfield will give students throughout the region high-tech, hands-on training in automotive and diesel service technology and prepare them to fill high-demand careers in the transportation industry. This “metro model” campus serves a commuter population and, with access to public transit, allows students to live and work at home, while they train. Programs are designed to give students flexible schedules, and reduce the overall cost of their education.
During the event, Ford Motor Company announced that it will offer its Ford Accelerated Credential Training (FACT) at UTI-Bloomfield. This 15-week advanced program trains students to work with Ford’s exclusive technology and state-of-the-industry computer diagnostics, electrical and diesel technologies. Students are eligible to take Ford FACT after they successfully complete UTI’s core automotive or diesel programs. Since Ford and UTI launched FACT in 2000, more than 25,000 students have graduated from the program.
“Ford is invested in building a pipeline of qualified technicians by encouraging schools such as UTI-Bloomfield to include FACT,” said Dave Johnson, Ford Motor Company’s global director, Service Engineering Operations. “As an added action, Ford recently developed a new program geared toward increasing recruitment and retention of automotive service technicians. This grassroots initiative aims to drive partnerships between automotive training programs and hiring Ford and Lincoln Dealers enabling future career opportunities in this high demand profession.”
UTI-Bloomfield’s grand opening celebration featured tours of the 108,000-square-foot facility, remarks from Johnson and UTI’s COO, Jerome Grant, as well as a keynote address by Robert Asaro-Angelo, the New Jersey Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development, who brought greetings and support from Governor Phil Murphy.
In his remarks, Asaro-Angelo also highlighted the importance of robust technical education in New Jersey and across the country, and the need for new, well-trained technicians in the automotive and diesel industries, especially given today’s technological advancements and innovations.
In addition to providing high-tech training and career opportunities for up to 800 students per year in the Tri-State area, UTI Bloomfield will serve local employers’ urgent need for trained technicians and play an important role in building the region’s skilled workforce. Businesses in the New York/New Jersey area, and across the nation, are facing critical skilled labor shortages, and transportation is no exception. According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be, on average, more than 120,000 job openings in the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries each year from 2016 through 2026.
“There’s never been a better time to be an auto or diesel technician,” said Grant. “These high-skill jobs pay well and offer ample career opportunities, and demand for our graduates only continues to grow. Thanks to our instructors, staff and the leaders and employers assembled here tonight, we are building the workforce of tomorrow and creating real, meaningful opportunities for our students.”
As part of its work to meet industry’s demand for trained technicians, UTI partners with more than 30 of the nation’s leading transportation brands, who help shape the curricula and outfit campuses with the latest vehicles and the same tools and sophisticated technology graduates will see and use on the job. The company’s employer partners hire UTI graduates, and many – over 3,800 nationwide – offer tuition reimbursement and other incentives. Students get the skills employers are looking for, and businesses get well-trained people who are ready to hit the ground running. More than four out of five UTI graduates are employed full-time in their field within a year of graduating, with the support of UTI’s robust career placement and assistance services.
The campus represents a more than $11 million investment by UTI in the region. At full capacity, it will employ over 60 educators and other personnel and train up to 800 students each year in automotive and diesel technology. Students can be ready to work in as little as 11 months in the 45-week diesel program or the 51-week core automotive program.