Tech Center automotive students excited for Toyota-Mazda plant opportunities

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - On Wednesday, state officials and company leaders announced that Toyota and Mazda will establish a new $1.6 billion auto-plant in Huntsville that will bring 4,000 jobs to the area. While many adults celebrate the announcement, some local teenagers also look ahead to what the plant could mean for their future.

After all, they have quite the advantage studying at the Limestone County Career Tech Center.

17- year-old Hunter Tyler says he wants to go into the automotive industry. News of the Toyota-Mazda plant brings new options meaning he's in the right place.

"Its growth in the industry and more opportunity for us," said Tyler. "Having the advantage, get the foot in the door easier, the certifications you can get here. I'd encourage anybody to come to tech school."

As the students tinker away, officials at the tech center note the trickle-down effect of Wednesday's announcement is a big deal. It's an exciting time here, and not just because students happen to be working on Toyota engines, but because of expansions in the automotive section.

"That includes collision which is undergoing an $800,000 renovation at this time. We also have automotive, we also have diesel," explained LCCTC Principal Vince Green.

Leaders already envision the announcement shaping the tech center's future.

"Maybe we can join partnerships with leaders of industry from that facility and we can align some of our curriculum with what they want to see in a potential employee so we can send students to them to work," said Green.

The tech center is also in the middle of pursuing the prestigious NATEF accreditation for their automotive program. Limestone County Superintendent Tom Sisk also confirmed to WHNT News 19 that the district has already been approached about developing a possible automotive academy.