The Developing Automotive Industry in North Carolina

Did you know the automotive industry employs many residents of North Carolina? Today, the Tar Heel State boasts over 290 firms with some connection to vehicle manufacturing. This month, the automotive technology sector received some assistance from the federal government when two small colleges in far southwestern North Carolina obtained grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Promoting Automotive Technology Training

The federal agency announced plans to give the educational institutions money to purchase equipment, conduct student outreach initiatives and implement training programs in the aerospace and automotive fields. Isothermal Community College in Spindale will receive $987,940 for this purpose. The gift will assist some 300 college students in Rutherford and Polk Counties. Additionally, 189 students in Macon, Jackson and Swain Counties will benefit from $527,379 granted to Southwestern Community College in Sylva.

Established in 1965 by Congress, the Appalachian Regional Commission seeks to provide greater economic opportunities for people residing within the Appalachia Region. It serves 420 counties in Appalachia, covering an area of nearly 205,000 square miles in several states: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Auto Industry Expansion

During the past five years, North Carolina witnessed steady growth in automotive fields. Employment in this sector actually rose by 25% in our state. At the present time, more than 26,000 North Carolina residents work in this expanding industry. North Carolina has become the most important auto manufacturing state in the Southeast.

North Carolina economic development policymakers hoped the state would become a center for automotive technology. The presence of a network of training centers has probably contributed to the decision of businesses to relocate here. Our workforce includes a growing number of people with skills in technical fields. Currently, some leading firms engaged in auto and heavy equipment manufacturing maintain facilities in North Carolina, including: Caterpillar, Daimler and Bridgestone.

Contributions to Automotive Research

Additionally, North Carolina houses several specialized research and testing centers. These facilities assist companies developing innovative automobiles. They include the North Carolina Motorsports and Automotive Research Center (NCMARC) at UNC Charlotte and the North Carolina Center For Automotive Research (“NCCAR”) in Garysburg.

In the local area, Raleigh provided a home for the North Carolina Advanced Transportation Energy Center (“NCATEC”), an influential force in the development of new technology. Founded in May, 2008, it conducted extensive research used by automakers building plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles. The Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University has contributed significantly to this innovative effort.

A Great Career Field

If you’ve considered embarking upon a career in the exciting automotive industry, North Carolina provides an excellent location. Students, employers, entrepreneurs and researchers all find resources of interest in the state relating to technology. North Carolina appears likely to remain a hub for innovative auto industry activity during coming decades!

We maintain an ongoing interest in the automotive industry, of course. For regular automotive inspections, maintenance and repairs, contact North Ridge Station in Raleigh, North Carolina. Drop by 6515 Falls of Neuse Road, or call to schedule an appointment by dialing (919)876-2943.