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Queens Automotive Center to drive job creation.

Local and state government officials, along with automotive executives, area dealers and educators, helped celebrate the grand opening of the Greater-New York Automobile Deals Association's Center for Automotive Education & Training recently in Whitestone, Queens.

The $25 million project, a first-of-its-kind to be built on this scale by an automobile association, will help curb the shortage of highly trained personnel in all areas of the business. In the service department alone, the automotive industry is facing an annual national shortage of over 30,000 trained automotive technicians, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Queens borough president Helen Marshall and over twenty legislators, headed by New York State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver and congressman Gary Ackerman, attended the event.

"The Center is tremendously important for New York on many fronts," said GNYADA chairman Bob Fusco. "It will help prepare thousands of individuals for rewarding, high-paying jobs in the automotive service and sales industry. In addition, the Center alone will create 100 new jobs for the area and it is estimated that the new facility will generate more than $8 million in tax revenues over the next 20 years."

The Center will serve as a training ground for individuals preparing for careers in the industry, as well as a continuing education resource for dealership and automaker personnel.

The 90,000 s/f energy-efficient complex features training areas outfitted with long-distance and satellite capabilities for interactive learning and global broadcasts, state-of-the-art service training areas, classrooms with the latest digital teaching systems, lecture halls, a 108-seat auditorium and a 5,000 s/f all-glass atrium, perfect for special displays and sales training in a simulated showroom.

"Our aim with the building's design was to update the notion of what an automotive education facility should be. Through the innovative use of technology, contemporary materials and well-appointed details, we have created a professional environment that will enhance the learning experience for those that attend the Center," said GNYADA president Mark Schienberg.

Lincoln Technical Institute will serve as the Association's education partner, providing entry level technician training. LTI's technician training program will occupy 50,000 s/f and will train up to 800 students each year.

Toyota has signed a long-term lease agreement to become a full-time user of the building and will be providing continuing education for Toyota and Scion dealership employees.

The automaker will also place students in internship programs and draw from a pool of trained technicians to staff its dealerships.

In addition, GNYADA is talking with many other organizations, including Northwood University, BMW, General Motors, Honda and Reynolds & Reynolds, about leasing space.

The facility will also accommodate GNYADA's own broad range of education and training programs, which currently consist of nearly 100 seminars and workshops held each year for local dealership personnel. The center will offer 30 different classifications for job training in areas such as service, management, sales, billing and bookkeeping.

The Center is located four miles from LaGuardia and eight miles from John F. Kennedy airports in the College Point Corporate Park, an area managed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Nov 23, 2005
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