Gov. Doug Ducey, automotive industry executives and local officials attended the official March 31 launch of Drive48, the advanced manufacturing training center in Coolidge that can prepare up to 100 students at any one time for jobs building vehicles and other industrial applications.
The facility located on Central Arizona College’s (CAC) Signal Peak campus has seen a stream of about 300 Lucid Motors hires pass through since it opened at the beginning of the year.
Its main training area currently houses several robotic assembly arms used to train Lucid technicians-to-be about programming, maintenance, problem solving, troubleshooting, safety, general system requirements and other aspects of operating this cutting-edge technology. Smaller rooms teach them how to work with tools, assemble parts, work with safety applications and associated tasks.
The 13,000-square-foot regional training center is structured to be highly adaptable to the needs of different employers as they come into Pinal County and Arizona, said Sandra Watson, president of the Arizona Commerce Authority.
“Talent is a key driver in business location decisions. With the opening of Drive48, we’re further enhancing Arizona’s robust manufacturing workforce pipeline, now and in the future,” she said.
Ducey said the state is in the midst of a “manufacturing boom,” with the 180,000 employees working in the sector earning an average of 21% more than other private sector workers.
Lucid plans to employ up to 1,500 people at the Casa Grande plant by the end of 2021, and several other manufacturers have recently committed to locating or expanding in the state including Intel, Taiwan Semiconductor, Benchmark, ElectraMeccanica and Raytheon.
Drive48’s current instruction fits into the Arizona Advanced Technology Network curriculum, developed by private and public center interests working with CAC, Maricopa Community Colleges and Pima Community College.
“Thousands of high-tech jobs are coming online in Pinal County over the next few years,” Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland said. “This facility and the many partners involved are ensuring our workforce can meet the demand while providing local graduates a pathway to gain new skills, acquire good-paying jobs, and stay right here in the community.”
Photo Courtesy of Arizona Commerce Authority