DelTech receives $1.97M grant for automotive training center

Tom Carper

GEORGETOWN — On Friday, officials announced a $1.97 million grant awarded to Delaware Technical Community College to build a new automotive training center on its Georgetown campus.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the announcement with Delaware Tech President Dr. Mark Brainard and Sussex County Economic Development Director William Plaff. Sen. Carper said he helped secure the grant through a competitive U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration grant program.

The project will construct a 13,500 square-foot Delaware Technical Community College Automotive Center of Excellence that will include two classrooms, a tool room, two training garages, and other related capacities. It is expected to create or protect nearly 90 jobs, and generate $1.5 million for the state’s economy, officials said.

Mark Brainard Photo by .

Mark Brainard

“One of the most important things we need to do in order to continue to grow our economy is to make sure we are providing hard-working Delawareans the training they need to fill the jobs of tomorrow,” Sen. Carper said.

“Years ago, I heard from auto dealers about the need for highly-skilled technicians, but that a serious investment in training was badly needed in order to develop the workforce. Since then, I’ve been fighting for this critical funding, and I am thrilled that we have finally secured what will be a direct investment in the First State’s future.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the grant as well in a separate release indicating that according to grantee estimates, the project is expected to create 43 jobs, retain 44 jobs, and generate $1.5 million in private investment.

“The Trump Administration is diligently working to ensure that American workers are afforded every opportunity to succeed,” he said.
“Because of the Delaware Technical Community College’s new training facilities and other projects like it, American workers will be able to gain the skills that local businesses need to grow and thrive.”

According to the senator, “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 76,000 mechanics will be needed every year to fill available positions. We have an obligation to seize on this clear opportunity and make sure that technicians are trained and certified to adapt and fill these good-paying jobs.

“This nearly $2 million grant to build a brand new, state-of-the-art automotive training center at Del Tech will create jobs in our state, strengthen our economy, and invest in the future of Delaware workers, and I’m so proud of the whole team that worked to make this a reality.”

Dr. Brainard said, “Our mission is to respond to workforce needs in this state. There is a dire need for diesel mechanics, and this training facility will help us fill those jobs with Delawareans. I want to thank Senator Carper for his diligent and tireless work to help us secure this grant, and I also want to thank the generous local donors who stepped up to support this initiative.”

Mr. Plaff said, “Sussex County is proud to be a partner on this journey to make the Automotive Center of Excellence a reality for Delaware Tech and for those looking for a rewarding career in the automotive industry.

“Today’s automotive industry is so technologically advanced, and miles beyond what many of us remember when it came to the maintenance needs of the cars and trucks of our parents and grandparents. This program will help to ensure Sussex County has the most qualified, well-trained workforce possible in the automotive field of today and beyond.”

Officials said the total cost to build the ACOE is $3 million, and the grant covers 65 percent of the construction. Local organizations and individuals have pledged donations that enabled the College to secure the 35 percent required by the EDA, officials said.

According to a news release, labor market data indicate more than 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, the region is projected to have 3,278 openings for automotive technicians due to retirements, job turnover and a 7 percent growth rate. Nine hundred forty-eight job openings are expected for diesel mechanics in the same period due to retirements, job turnover and a 17 percent growth rate.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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