Hendrick, RCC partner on accelerated training for automotive techs
HAMLET — Hendrick Automotive Group is partnering with Richmond Community College to build one of the top educational centers in the country for automotive technicians.
Hendrick Automotive Group Chairman & CEO Rick Hendrick joined RichmondCC president, Dr. Dale McInnis, on Monday in announcing plans for the “Hendrick Center for Automotive Training,” a 15,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility to be located on the Hamlet Campus.
“We are at a critical time for the automotive industry,” said Hendrick. “In North Carolina alone, there are more than 1,200 openings at dealerships in our state. It is incredibly important that we continue to attract young people by offering unparalleled training and rewarding, well-paying career opportunities.”
In North Carolina, more than 600 car dealerships employ more than 36,000 people, including approximately 7,000 service technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, by 2026 the United States will add 50,000 service technician jobs.
Nationally, Hendrick Automotive Group currently has more than 350 openings for service/collision technicians and 150 openings in North Carolina. Hendrick described service technicians as “the backbone of our dealerships.”
“With such a need to fill, it is important we find partners that share many of our same values and goals. President Dale McInnis and his team’s vision for this program is based on a track record for success,” Hendrick said. “It is a special day, and I can’t wait to see what incredible opportunities this project will create for the community.”
The automotive technician program will be modeled after RichmondCC’s Electric Lineman program, which provides a solid foundation of skills and training within a short span of time. Automotive technician students likewise will complete the intense, accelerated program in 16 weeks and be qualified to go to work immediately and begin their careers in the automotive industry.
“We have found that an intensive cohort-based, short-term training program that provides students with the skills, knowledge and competencies that employers are desperately seeking in a fraction of the time and fraction of the cost to the students and families,” Dr. McInnis said.
The Hendrick Family Foundation is making a $500,000 donation to the development of the educational center. The Richmond Community College Foundation is matching that donation, and the Foundation for the Carolinas is donating $250,000. An additional $3.4 million is needed to support the development of the program.
Sen. Tom McInnis, who has been key in securing state funding for short-term workforce training at RichmondCC, guaranteed his support for the new program.
“This is a red letter day in Richmond County, but not only Richmond County, but every county that touches us in the two Carolinas,” the senator said. “This is an event where we create an educational path using short-term training to allow people to build wealth and to better themselves and their families in the shortest period of time and the least amount financial obligation.”
Executive Vice President for the Foundation of the Carolinas Brian Collier said he was proud to be once again working with RichmondCC on an innovative project that has a goal of being the best.
“Everything at RichmondCC is done with intentionality to send a message to current and future students that ‘we value and respect you’ and that we’re investing in you because the future of the community depends upon your success,” he said.
Lavern Shultz, president of the Richmond Community College Foundation Board of Directors, said his board was also excited to make a substantial contribution to this partnership.
“This announcement is an example of the power of giving and teamwork,” Shultz said. “When we come together as a team, we create transformative opportunities for Richmond Community College students everywhere.”
The average salary for an automotive service technician is a little over $39,000 within a 100-mile radius of Hamlet, but on a national scale, the average salary is nearly $47,000.
Hendrick Automotive Group employs more than 2,500 technicians nationwide. Salaries can exceed $100,000 for technicians with advanced special training and longevity working in the automotive industry.
“Thanks to a tremendous public-private philanthropic partnership – that’s so rare and special – between the state of North Carolina, our college and its donors, two leading local foundations and the nationally recognized leader in automotive sales and services, we will soon be expanding the horizons and the hopes of students from across the region and the whole state of North Carolina,” Dr. McInnis said.