Fair Trade

Oklahoma Technical College, a trade school specializing in comprehensive automotive, diesel and welding education, opens Feb. 16 at 4444 S. Sheridan Road.
The school operates under the umbrella of Community Care College, down the street at 4242 S. Sheridan Road. Community Care College also owns Clary Sage College, a cosmetology, spa and esthetics education center at 3131 S. Sheridan Road. Both Clary Sage and OTC were opened in order for Community Care College to offer additional educational programs not available at its main campus, according to sources.
Blaze Bly, who will head up OTC as its director, said the programs offered at OTC are “actually something Tulsa has been lacking.”
“There’s only one other school in Tulsa that offers automotive and welding programs,” Bly said. “It focuses more on the high school demographic and doesn’t go as in-depth with the certification as we thought we could.”
OTC offers certification programs in automotive mechanics, automotive technology, light diesel automotive technology, automotive service parts specialty and welding technology.
Each program requires a varying number of four-week classes, each of which is offered from 7 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, and students take just one course at a time. New students can enroll every four weeks.
“You learn one specialty for four weeks, and then you move on to another area,” Bly explained. “You get very extensive knowledge in one area (at a time).”
Students studying in the automotive programs will “get the full dealership experience,” Bly said. They will make estimates on auto repairs, pull parts at Chrome City, the school’s on-site retail store, and repair used cars. The cars will then be sold on a lot on location by an employed sales person. Funds from the cars sold will go back into the college.
Similarly, welding students will work with local manufacturers on projects, making things that will eventually end up in the hands of the public.
OTC’s demographic, Bly said, is males aged 18 to 24 and males 30 to 35 who are looking to change careers.
Bly said the multi-million dollar project, which is completely privately funded, has been in the works since 2007, when Community Care College conducted a market study to determine the need for such a vocational school. The need was there, Bly said.
“Even with the economy the way it is, we saw a need for this school. More people are maintaining their cars, maintaining old construction (rather than buying or building new). I would say that, because of the economy, these programs are in even more demand,” said Bly.
The school sits on nine acres at the old Henry Primeaux car dealership site. Bly said the school will grow with the demand. At the time of publication, 20 students had enrolled in OTC’s five programs, with five instructors employed to teach them. OTC is seeking additional instructors for evening classes, which will begin in May.
Bly said OTC is open to partnering with local companies on business development and continuing education programs for their employees but, so far, hasn’t contacted nor been contacted by anyone seeking such a partnership.

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