Augusta Technical College Hosts Soft Launch and Reveals Plans for New Center for Automotive Excellence

Staff Report

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

Augusta Technical College revealed its plans for the new Center for Automotive Excellence during a soft launch opening event on November 1. The institution also unveiled the future naming of the facility, pending the Technical College System of Georgia’s State Board approval, as the Jim Hudson Automotive Institute. 

The new instructional facility will offer comprehensive training for automotive technicians, including in the specialized areas of electric and hybrid vehicles; light, medium, and heavy duty diesel; motorcycles; watercraft; and autobody and paint. Additionally, the site will include a “live work” program so the auto tech students as well as Augusta Tech’s School of Business students can get firsthand experience working with customers.

“The Jim Hudson Automotive Institute will be a national model for automotive instruction,” said Dr. Jermaine Whirl, President of Augusta Technical College. “No other college is offering this range of training both on the technical and business sides of the industry in one location.”

The facility will be named the Jim Hudson Automotive Institute in recognition of a $1 million gift from the Jim Hudson Automotive Group. The College also received $1 million each from the Augusta National Golf Club and the Knox Foundation to acquire the facility earlier this year. Located at 1122 Walton Way, it was formerly the home of Johnson Cadillac. 

Mr. Hudson told the assembled crowd at Wednesday’s event that the hardest positions to hire in his company are the auto technicians. “There are just not enough trained technicians available,” he said, “even though many of our technicians earn six figure salaries.”

The need for qualified technicians was one factor in Mr. Hudson’s decision to support the project. The underlying ethos of this company was another. “We employ 900 plus people and they all know our priorities are our employees, our customers, and our community. When you’ve been blessed as we have been, it is important to give back to others.”

The first classes will be offered at the site in Fall 2025. The College currently offers a diploma and numerous technical certificates of credit programs in automotive technology. These offerings will be expanded to include more programs in the new institute. Augusta Tech also plans to add automotive-industry specific classes to its Associated of Applied Science degrees in the School of Business. The institute will also provide noncredit training and upskilling through the College’s Division of Economic Development.

“We are already hearing from companies throughout the region who say they will hire our graduates and send their current employees to us for training,” Dr. Whirl noted. “We will have the space and the flexibility to offer everything from intensive boot camps and summer programs to school children to college degrees. This truly is a game changer.”

Augusta Tech is currently in conversations with individuals and companies across the automotive industry in the CSRA, throughout Georgia and South Carolina, and even nationally to raise additional money to renovate and equip the building. A complete list of funding opportunities is available from the Augusta Tech Foundation at 706-771-4023 or [email protected].