Tulsa Tech and its Broken Arrow campus, a National Training Center member of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), recently hosted a grand opening ceremony of a new state-of-the-art automotive training facility that will give Oklahoman students firsthand experience with alternative fuel technology.

“We are so proud of our Broken Arrow campus and even more excited to dedicate it,” said Kara Gae Neal, superintendent of Tulsa Tech during the Sept. 16 dedication ceremony. “Each student, young and old, who attends a Tulsa Tech school will receive the highest level of hands-on training and education. The Broken Arrow campus and this facility is no exception. We have created the only course in Oklahoma that will teach students the technology associated with alternative fuels. This one-of-a-kind facility is training tomorrow’s workforce in the latest automotive technology.”

Established in 1983 and with renovations completed in January 2011, the Broken Arrow Campus now has 362,698 square feet of classrooms, laboratories and shops located on a 53-acre site. Each shop offers the latest in automotive equipment, specifically liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) technology. The campus employs 53 full-time staff members and includes a variety of meeting rooms for public use, including a 330-seat auditorium.

The alternative fuels program will offer students National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification in CNG, electrical and engine performance training. The program will be taught with specialized multi-fuel trainers, equipment, vehicles and an on-site CNG fueling station. With this training, graduates will be able to capitalize on emerging employment opportunities, finding careers as service technicians and retrofitter specialists as well as in the areas of service management, marketing, engineering and sales. Each of these career paths requires the specialized training offered at Tulsa Tech, allowing the school to fulfill an industry-wide need for skilled and proficient technicians adept at maintaining and developing these new types of vehicles.

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A Tulsa Transit CNG powered bus breaks through the ribbon at the Tulsa Tech Broken Arrow campus dedication. Credit: Tulsa Tech

“With this new facility, Tulsa Tech is committing to the training and teaching of Oklahomans to fill an expertise in a growing and demanding sector. This is just one more example of why Oklahoma is positioned to take the lead in our nation’s efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan. “I am proud to say our companies and schools show great initiative in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by liquid natural gas and compressed natural gas. As a versatile transportation fuel, natural gas is poised to help our state by creating jobs. And on the national level, the adoption of these readily available American fuels will only serve to strengthen our national security.”

Oklahoma-born philanthropist and natural gas advocate T. Boone Pickens was a special guest at the dedication and came away impressed with Tulsa Tech’s new facility.

“Natural gas is an American fuel, and it is plentiful in Oklahoma.” Pickens noted. “Thankfully we have institutions like Tulsa Tech with the vision and ambition needed to capitalize on all the benefits of this clean and abundant domestic fuel. One pillar of the Pickens Plan is to use natural gas to replace OPEC oil as a transportation fuel, and Tulsa Tech is actively addressing this need with the new Broken Arrow campus automotive facility and courses in alternative fuels.

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T. Boone Pickens meets with students at the Tulsa Tech Broken Arrow campus dedication. Credit: Tulsa Tech

“With Tulsa Tech’s hands-on training program, jobs will be created, and an industry so vital to our energy future will be expanded” he added. “Today’s dedication represents a big step forward, one that will propel Oklahoma to the forefront of the natural gas movement. Oklahoma is clearly in good hands.”

The dedication and ribbon cutting event also featured Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, Broken Arrow Mayor Mike Lester and Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

“Tulsa Tech recognized a need and addressed it,” Neal commented. “This is a proud day for Tulsa Tech, the CareerTech system and the state of Oklahoma.”

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