Sumter County, Ala. The ribbon was cut today on the new University of West Alabama automotive manufacturing training facility. This new facility will be used as a way to increase workforce development opportunities to West Alabamians.
“We are really trying to increase our workforce development efforts and help people increase their knowledge and skills and abilities to get better paying jobs in good industries, provide for their families, and become productive members of their community,” said The University of West Alabama President, Dr. Ken Tucker.
The three semester, 27 credit hour program on the UWA campus will give students the knowledge they need to become successful and gain employment.
“We are trying to give the students a skill they need to get the jobs and maintain the jobs by showing them how to work in a production factory like Mercedes Benz of course,” explained UWA Automotive Instructor Curtis Jones
Not only will student get in the classroom training part of the program will have students working in the Mercedes-Benz Plant which is located in Vance, Alabama.
“The automotive technician program here, we guarantee 75 percent of the students that enter the program a full time job at Vance, so absolutely they leave here with the skills to be able to have a great future at Mercedes and as part of this program they work two days a week at the plant, throughout their program,” explained Vice President of Engineering at Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. Phil Johnston.
This program is expected to invest into the community and help it flourish in years to come.
“This is the key to workforce development in this community, the black belt has struggled for many years and so somebody has to plant a seed and hopefully this seed will produce something greater than what we have seen in the past,” explained External Affairs Manager with Alabama Power, Joseph Brown.