BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The Advanced Technology Center at Rock Valley College has been open for over a year now. Today, however, the community had the opportunity to tour the 77,000 square foot state-of-the art facility for themselves.

The center features training simulators that allow students to practice skills that will be used upon graduation, including hydraulics excavator and truck driving simulators.

“My dad’s a truck driver, so I was like ‘I want to see how it felt,'” said Belvidere High School student Manny Pizano, who visited Rock Valley College to get behind the wheel of their truck simulator. “It felt cool, but scary,” said Pizano.

Administrators say the goal is to build up the workforce in the Rockford region, and today showcases the hands-on training that prepares students for successful careers.

“We want people to know that Rock Valley is at the forefront of training, classes, technology, all this stuff,” said Grant Schubert, executive director of industrial development. “Rock Valley College is a place for people of all ages and backgrounds, if you want to pivot in your career we have a space for you, if you want to start a new career we have a space for you.”

Rock Valley says they are working on further expanding programs to better serve the community.

More information on the college’s advanced technology center can be found here.