CLEVELAND - Much has changed in the world of automotive technology since 1969, with V8 muscle cars making way for high-tech hybrids and the days of do-it-yourself repairs being replaced by professional technician service. The same holds true for leading automotive school Ohio Technical College, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a premier provider of hands-on technical training.
This milestone anniversary marks the transformation of the technical school from a single, second-floor building location to an 800,000-square-foot campus in two Ohio cities.
Ohio Technical College (OTC) began in 1969 as the Ohio Diesel Mechanics School, conducting six -week diesel training courses in Cleveland's Warehouse district. Founded by Julius Brenner, the school began hitting its many growth spurts in 1971 as the demand for diesel tech training grew at a rapid pace and students moved into a larger facility to accommodate proper equipment. From that day in the early 1970s, the school hasn't stopped expanding, changing its name several times - first to the Ohio Diesel Technical Institute, then to Ohio Auto/Diesel Technical Institute and the Ohio Auto Diesel Technical College - before deciding on Ohio Technical College in September 1997 to reflect its mission to provide premier technical training in the world of modern mechanics.
"Throughout all of these physical expansions we were also lengthening our course work and training time as well as developing new programs so the school was always teaching up-to-date automotive technology, from the early days of hydraulic brakes and transport refrigeration to classic car restoration and alternative fuels," said Tom King, director of enrollment management, Ohio Technical College.
There were several key advancements in OTC's curriculum that allowed the school to meet the needs of employers and future employees alike, including:
- The addition of an Automotive Technology program in 1984.
- The combination of the Diesel Technician and Automotive Programs to create a comprehensive Master Technician program.
- In 1989, a building purchase added 500,000 square feet to the complex and the school created the Motorcycle and Small Engine Training Program.
- In 1993, the college was one of 133 technical schools nationwide to participate in the Federal Governments New Direct Loan Program.
- The Associate of Technical Studies in Automotive and Diesel was approved in 1994, adding well-rounded academic credentials to help graduates advance to management positions.
- In 2000, BMW of North America partnered with OTC to provide a level II factory training program: The FAST Track Program (Factory Advanced Skilled Training). The first level I Service Technician Education Program (S.T.E.P) class was added two years later.
- The first High Performance and Racing and Alternative Fuel Technology classes began in 2003, complete with an in-ground dynamometer.
Today, Julius' son Marc Brenner serves as president of OTC while his grandson Jordan Brenner is the admissions/marketing manager of this family-owned school. More than 1,000 students are enrolled and 190 full-time employees work at the college. Newly purchased buildings and houses are being converted into classrooms and parking lots to expand the campus footprint.
Most recently, the school's branch campus PowerSports Institute (PSI) has moved into a 210,000-square-foot facility in nearby North Randall, Ohio, to provide technical training on motorcycles, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, ATVs and more.
Drawing students from all over the country, OTC is an Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) college. Students can choose from a wide variety of technician training programs in Automotive, Diesel, Auto-Diesel, Collision Repair, Classic Car Restoration and PowerSport Technology as well as specialization in High Performance and Racing, BMW, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, CDL Truck Driver Training, Custom Paint and Graphics, Power Generator Systems and a 12-month Welding Program partnered with Lincoln Electric.
"It's important for the college to give back to the industry and community by partnering with quality manufacturers and local businesses to create real-world training situations for our future technicians," adds King. "The Ohio Technical College team is extremely proud of our students as well as our academic programs in the automotive and powersports industries. We look forward to another exciting, rewarding and successful year for the students, staff and school."
For more information, write to Ohio Technical College at 1374 E. 51st St. Cleveland, Ohio, 44103; call 800.322.7000 ext. 163; or visit www.ohiotechnicalcollege.com and www.psi-now.com.