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The workforce development nonprofit CareerEdge Funders Collaborative is partnering with six local automotive dealerships to offer a free short-term technician training program at Suncoast Technical College. A pilot program of 10 Gettel Automotive employees launched earlier this year. The fast-track certification class will launch a second cohort of students in January with additional dealerships on board. Gettel, Sunset Auto Group, Peterson Toyota of Sarasota, Venice Honda, Venice Toyota and Wilde Automotive will hire individuals with no experience at $12 per hour for full- or part-time trainee positions. The new hires must then attend a mandatory free 11-week automotive training program at the college between January and March. Once participants complete the 11-week class, they will be paid $13 per hour full-time, with benefits, and will have the potential for additional certifications and growth at the dealerships. Average wages for mechanics are between $40,000 and $50,000.

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