Earlier this week, Universal Technical Institute (UTI) cut the ribbon at its new 108,000 sq.-ft., state-of-the-industry campus in Bloomfield, N.J.
The Bloomfield campus marks the company’s first location in the tri-state area and its thirteenth campus nationwide. As the region’s strong demand for skilled transportation service technicians continues to grow, UTI says the campus will train students to succeed in these high-tech, well-paying jobs, which offer ample opportunities to build rewarding, long-term careers.
A week after the inaugural class of students began their first programs at UTI-Bloomfield, an energetic crowd assembled in the campus’ expansive training facility. Among the speakers were Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, Essex County Freeholder Carlos Pomares, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker, representing New Jersey political leaders from the most local level to the State Legislature.
“This school is important not just for Bloomfield, not just for Essex County, but it is really important for Northern New Jersey and all of the state,” says Carlos Pomares, Essex County Freeholder. “This highly-skilled training is not available everywhere, and we have a very dense population with a million cars on the road, so we are very excited for the resources UTI brings to the community both in terms of job opportunities and for New Jersey businesses.”
Those attending included major New Jersey transportation employers, many of whom offer tuition reimbursement programs and hiring incentives to UTI graduates. UTI says it partners with 30 of the nation’s leading transportation brands, who help guide UTI’s cutting-edge training programs, invest in its facilities and give UTI students the chance to train on current vehicles, technology and tools. As a result, students leave UTI with the knowledge and skills employers want. Nationally, more than four of five UTI graduates are employed full-time in their field within a year of graduating, the school says.
“We recognize that with UTI graduate hires, we know we aren’t just getting someone who can turn a wrench,” says Terrell McCray, Northeast HR manager at Penske Truck Leasing. “Students here are pushed to think beyond the classroom; they’ve already worked on the equipment and sophisticated digital systems they’ll find in every Penske vehicle they touch, but, beyond that, learning to be a professional is part of the curriculum, and they have the classroom role models to set an example of how to conduct themselves in the workplace.”
Following the ribbon cutting, attendees were given tours of the campus and got a first-hand look at the classrooms and hands-on training labs outfitted with the equipment, technology and sophisticated digital systems that power modern vehicles. Overall, the campus represents a more than $11 million investment by UTI in the region. It has the capacity to train up to 800 students each year in Automotive and Diesel Technology. UTI says students can be ready to work in as little as 11 months in the 45-week diesel program and graduate the core automotive program in just 51 weeks. A soon-to-be-announced manufacturer-specific advanced training program will also be offered.
The campus will predominantly serve a commuter population, allowing students to access UTI’s quality education without leaving home.
“Our employer and industry partners are telling us that they can’t find enough skilled technicians to meet their demand, especially in a transportation hub like the New York metropolitan area,” says UTI-Bloomfield campus president Steve McElfresh. “From a community perspective, these are fantastic career opportunities that allow graduates to support themselves and their families, and we are excited to provide their first few steps.”
Industry demand for trained transportation technicians continues to accelerate. Most recently, UTI states the federal government tripled its estimate for the number of transportation technicians needed nationwide by 2026. According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than 1.2 million job openings in the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries by that time. To help reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 120,000 technician job openings annually on average.