Thanks to an innovative summer program in Mooresville, five local high school students have settled into their senior year with post-graduation plans already in place.
While many of their peers are unsure about their futures or scrambling to finish college applications, these five students are looking ahead to successful careers in motorsports and automotive technology. All five completed NASCAR Technical Institute’s (NASCAR Tech) Ignite program last summer and will start school at NASCAR Tech when they graduate high school. NASCAR Tech is one of Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI’s) 13 campuses nationwide.
During the three-week Ignite program, students sampled NASCAR Tech and UTI classes hands-on and had the opportunity to earn course credits in advance of graduating from high school. The Ignite curriculum emphasizes the high-tech nature of the transportation industry and lets students meet UTI graduates and local employers, and explore career opportunities.
Edgar Torres Cardenas, who participated in the Mooresville campus program, said lessons in the lab, where he learned to dismantle and reassemble a motor, were his favorite. He’s grown up working on his family’s vehicles with his father, and is looking forward to turning his hobby into a career.
“Ignite was really exciting, and went by too fast,” said Cardenas. “But it helped me choose a career path after graduation. Because of my interest in auto racing, my NASCAR Tech advisor suggested the MOPAR track, and I can’t wait to start next fall.”
Joshua Hollis will also start classes at NASCAR Tech soon after he graduates high school, and wants build a career in automotive technology.
“I plan to start working at a dealership, but eventually I’d like to own my own shop,” said Hollis. “I love working around cars and learning more about my passion and hobby.”
NASCAR Tech Campus President Jennifer Bergeron said the Ignite program introduces high school students to a career they’ll love and helps UTI meet industry demand for automotive technicians.
“Our employer partners are telling us they need more trained technicians, so Ignite is a great way to introduce high school students to UTI and the high-tech, good paying jobs and career opportunities available across the transportation sector,” said Bergeron. “Our Ignite graduates are excited to start school, and they’ll be able to graduate even faster thanks to the course credit they earned over the summer.”
Most recently, the federal government tripled its estimate for the number of transportation technicians needed nationwide by 2026. According to new projections, there will be more than 1.2 million job openings in the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries. To help reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 120,000 technician job openings annually on average.
The Ignite program will be returning to NASCAR Tech in Summer 2019. For more information, visit www.uti.edu/programs/ignite.
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