Pima Community College opened a training center Tuesday to educate the next generation of automotive technicians.
The Automotive Technology and Innovation Center doesn't look all that different from the service department at any dealership - lots of cars on lifts, bays with tune up and wheel balancing gear, and so on.
But the 50-thousand square foot facility is the realization of a dream for Chancellor Lee Lambert, who envisioned a better automotive program when he came to the school seven years ago. "I think there's many of you in this community, I know especially the dealers and all the other automotive folks, you've been waiting for this moment," Lambert said at Tuesday's ribbon-cutting.
Automotive faculty leader Skylar Webb said applied technology is one of the keys to Tucson's economic future. "If you want better technology, if you want bigger corporations, if you want more innovation in Tucson, you need to start with your trades. And that's what the chancellor is letting us do. If they can fix your car, if they can build your house, if they can repair your HVAC - especially your HVAC - then people want to come here. And no one wants to move Apple here if they can't get their Teslas fixed," Webb said.
As one speaker at the vent pointed out, a modern car is probably the most complex device most of us touch every day, and the advent of electric cars is making the service technician's job that much more demanding.
The new automotive facility is one of several centers of excellence Pima is planning on opening in the coming years.