LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Long Beach just welcomed a new resident: the Universal Technical Institute.

“It means opportunity for a future coming up,” said Nickalas Stafford, a student.

In two years or less, he and other students will be able to hone their technical skills with a chance of becoming hired after graduation.

“You have to have a promising career and a lot of things are lucrative in this business,” he said.

Prior to its Long Beach opening, the closet UTI location was in Rancho Cucamonga.

“One of the two main reasons that we brought the campus to the Long Beach area was because the employers in this area were under-served from a graduate-availability standpoint or a technician-hiring standpoint and also we had a lot of demand from prospective students here,” Larry Hohl, the UTI campus president, said.

The new, 142,000-square-foot facility is a mechanic’s dream, offering state-of-the-art auto, diesel, and collision repair labs.

Students will also have access to state-of-the-industry spray booths, allowing them to work on two cars at once.

The demand for car experts is on the rise.

In fact, the state Employment Development Department estimates technician jobs will increase 15 percent by 2022.

“Over the course of the next 15 years, over 50 percent of the current automotive or diesel truck technicians in the United States will be eligible for retirement,” Hohl said.

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