Sun, May 19, 2024

Car dealer pledges $500,000 to support Automotive Institute

“Together with partners like Will Schafer at Master Automotive, we are building a national model for automotive training,” said Dr. Jermaine Whirl, President of Augusta Tech. “The state of Georgia recognizes that automotive tech is a critical industry with far too few qualified individuals to fill the many available jobs. With this new facility, Augusta Tech will train more than 1,000 students per year to fill these lucrative jobs.”

“There is a major need for a facility such as this in our community and we are excited to be a part of it. Having somewhere for local students to learn and train directly out of high school is so important. This facility teaches complex, technical skills that help make for excellent careers. For more than eighty-five years, Master Automotive has been focused on service and giving back and we continue to accomplish this by investing in the community with programs such as this one,” stated Master CEO, Will Schafer.

Photo L-R: Augusta Technical College President, Dr. Jermaine Whirl; Master Automotive CEO, Will Schafer & wife, Kathy Shafer; Augusta Technical College Foundation Treasurer, Shelia Stuberfield

To be located on the site of the former Johnson Cadillac at 1122 Walton Way, 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, including auto body and collision, and light, medium, and heavy diesel. 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.

As revealed in November 2023, the facility itself 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.

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

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