Emory Bryan, News On 6
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- Teaching students the technology associated with alternative fuels will be the focus of a new facility at Broken Arrow's Tulsa Tech campus.
Friday morning, a number of dignitaries, including Texas oil tycoon and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens and Congressman John Sullivan were on hand for the ribbon cutting and dedication of the facility at 4000 West Florence Street in Broken Arrow.
Tulsa Tech says this program is the only one in the state and will give students hands-on-learning with state-of-the-art equipment.
Students are already in the new classrooms at Tulsa Tech's Broken Arrow campus.
Here they can learn everything about car maintenance- from the basics of brakes on cars - to the latest on alternative fuels for large trucks.
It's that focus on the emerging field of alternative fuel maintenance that attracted the attention of new fuel crusader T. Boone Pickens.
"I've been talking about, but now you see the vehicles, you can see what they do. There's no doubt, the fuel will work, it's abundant, it's cheap and it's available to us," Pickens said.
Pickens is working with Congress, including Tulsa's John Sullivan on legislation to push the change to a new fuel.
He says the shift requires new infrastructure like the new TTC Training Center.
"Tulsa Tech is turning out these vehicles. This is just the start. There will be so much activity in the next two or three years, it's incredible," he said.
The addition at Tulsa Tech was encouraged by the demand for workers in advanced automotive maintenance.
"We have students who are on waiting lists to come into this, with two alternative fuels classes during the day, we have them at night. This particular campus has 900 students during the day and more at night," said Tulsa Tech Superintendent Dr. Kara Gae Neal.
The opening of the new training center comes as Pickens believes the country is ready for energy independence.
"GM makes 18 natural gas passenger cars, none in the United States. They're all in South America and Europe," Pickens said.
The new training center will turn out mechanics ready for the work - who will have jobs waiting for them.