Our History

Founded by automotive legend Jim Moran in 1984, the Youth Automotive Training Center (YATC) educates disadvantaged youth in basic automotive repair, academic remediation, job readiness and life management skills through a tuition-free, nine-month training program. YATC students have the opportunity to learn a trade, plan for the future and become productive members of the community.

YATC has developed from a one-room training center into a 16,000 square-foot modern facility featuring technical and academic classrooms, a computer learning center/library, state-of-the-art automotive shop, conference room, lunch room and fitness room. Graduates of the model program, along with their families, continue to receive any assistance needed to keep them on the right track for success.

With the leadership that was provided by our Founder and the continuing support of community members, YATC provides solutions for young people who need a jump-start in life and will work hard for it.

Our Founder

Long before the Youth Automotive Training Center was established, Jim Moran became a recognized world leader in the automotive business.  Born on August 8, 1918, in Chicago, Jim was an entrepreneur at heart.  He began his career as a young man who had very little money but made up for it with a lot of hard work and a strong desire to succeed.  In 1939, after saving every penny he could, he put together $360 to purchase a Sinclair gas station that soon became largest volume outlet in Chicago. After serving his country in World War II, Jim returned to Chicago and sold his first car – a used 1936 Ford Coupe – for $275 that he had reconditioned himself.   A whole new world opened up for him that day.
He later relocated to Florida to battle – and win – a diagnosis of cancer.  Not long after, he was approached by Toyota Motor Sales with the possibility of distributing Toyotas. On October 26, 1968, during his first visit to Japan, Jim was awarded the franchise to distribute Toyotas and Southeast Toyota Distributors was born. Other automotive-related businesses followed, including parent company JM Family Enterprises, Inc.  Now it is one of the largest, most innovative and diversified companies in the automotive industry.
By 1984, when he established YATC, Jim also had built a life dedicated to “giving back” to his community through thoughtful, compassionate philanthropy.  In 2000, together with his wife Jan, Jim established The Jim Moran Foundation to ensure that his legacy of giving would continue in perpetuity.
Learn more about Jim Moran.