WOODLAND HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A local educational institution is honoring the past and celebrating the future at the same time.
Pierce College in Woodland Hills first opened in 1947 as an agricultural school, but quickly evolved into a full-scale community college.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on the school’s milestone 75th anniversary has opened the doors of a new $22 million automotive technology center.
It’s a modern, state-of-the-art facility which rivals that of any college or trade school.
“It is a testament to the excellence of our faculty, and our staff, and our students, and an investment in our community,” said Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez at the dedication for the building.
Pierce College has offered training for aspiring auto technicians for decades with an auto shop that first opened back in 1967.
But in the decades ahead, vehicles are going to evolve quite a bit, and this institution is set to teach a new generation of techs to work on them.
“Dedicated space for expansion of electrical and electronics systems training, advanced diagnostics and autonomous vehicle systems training, electric vehicle, hybrid vehicle, alternative fuels, and emissions training,” said Professor Michael Van Dyke.
Cars are going to be changing in the next decade, arguably more than they’ve changed in the seven and a half decades since this campus first opened.
But those cars of the future are still going to need qualified people to work on them.
“With all these mandates coming down the pipeline from the government, and pushing all these dates that are literally around the corner, it is imperative for us to start preparing for what’s coming,” said Alex Villalta, a Piece College automotive technology instructor.
One of Pierce’s missions since the beginning has been to ready young people for careers, and a career maintaining and repairing automobiles can be a lucrative one for both men and women.
“Ultimately, there is a lot of money to be made in this industry. A lot of our students are working at Tesla, they’re working at Bob Smith BMW, Galpin Ford, Northridge Toyota, and they’re easily making over $100,000,” noted Villalta.
With its diamond anniversary in the history books, this longtime educational hub is ready for the first group of students to begin their studies at its new gem of a facility next spring.
Who knows? Maybe beginning the school’s next 75 years.
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