The Automotive Training Center is a program in Atlanta, Georgia that provides young men and women with technical training so that they may obtain entry-level employment in the automotive repair industry. The majority of our students are at-risk and drawn from low-income neighborhoods where unemployment and high school drop out rates are both high. ATC was founded on the principle that all of its students have untapped potential that has not developed because of their specific life circumstances. ATC gives its students opportunities to grow the technical and entrepreneurial skills they already possess. We instill these values in its students through a positive, encouraging, and challenging learning environment. ATC’s training produces graduates that are more likely to maintain stable employment, become business owners, and have stable family lives when compared to their peers.
The Automotive Training Center started initially as an idea. In 2012, Larry had just moved to an inner-city Atlanta neighborhood and was struck by how many young men he was meeting that had been to or were headed to prison. Larry was upset by this trend and wanted to do something to help these young men.
Larry grew up in Cleveland, Ohio in a middle class family and went to private school. He also grew up watching his father mentor young men at an inner-city high school and work part-time at a juvenile detention home. But even with being surrounded by positive influences Larry still ended up in legal trouble and narrowly missed going to prison as a young adult. Larry fell back on the experiences and support he had growing up and decided to make a change to live a positive life.
When Larry started to meet young men in Atlanta and started to understand their risk for incarceration he knew that most of them did not have the same support network he was afforded. How much harder would it be for them to overcome these circumstances without support? Nearly impossible was the answer.
So Larry combined his passion for these young men with his life-long love of cars and the Automotive Training Center was born at the end of 2014. Larry and Shawn met shortly after and they decided to build the organization dedicated to training and finding employment for at-risk youth. Thousands of teenage and young adult males are jailed in Fulton County alone every year. Most commit crimes trying to earn money because their neighborhoods don’t provide viable employment. They serve their time and are released and are re-arrested because they don’t have the training they need to gain employment. ATC puts a stop to this vicious cycle and produces graduates that maintain stable employment, become business owners, and have secure family lives when compared to their peers.