Universal Technical Institute cuts ribbon on new campus in N.J.

On Tuesday, Universal Technical Institute cut the ribbon on a new campus in Bloomfield.

The new 108,000-square-foot campus is the company’s first location in the tri-state area and its 13th location throughout the United States, it said.

Universal Technical Institute provides education for the transportation services industry.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was one week after the inaugural class began its first programs at UTI-Bloomfield, attendees included Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, Essex County Freeholder Carlos Pomares, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, and Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker.

“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,” Pomares said. “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.”

UTI said leading transportation companies, like BMW, Cummins, Ford, Freightliner, Mercedes-Benz, NASCAR, Petrebilt, Porsche and Volvo, will help with training programs and invest in its facilities to give students the opportunity to work on current vehicle technology. The program also works with some New Jersey transportation employers to offer tuition reimbursement and hiring incentives to UTI graduates.

“We recognize that with UTI graduate hires, we know we aren’t just getting someone who can turn a wrench,” Terrell McCray, Northeast HR manager for Penske Truck Leasing, said. “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.”

Overall, UTI said the new campus represents a $11 million investment into the region. It has an 800-student capacity per year. Students, it said, can be ready to work in 11 months for the 45-week diesel program and just under a year for the 51-week automotive program.

“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,” UTI-Bloomfield Campus President Steve McElfresh said. “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.”

A formal community grand opening ceremony will be held on Oct. 24 at the Bloomfield campus.