Universal Technical Institute (UTI), the newly-named Official Technical School of NHRA, is giving students all over the country the opportunity to get an up-close look at the opportunities provided by a quality technical school education. More than 1,400 students from schools in the region came to zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C. Friday as part of NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) program, which focuses on the importance of goals and continued education, and shows students how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is applied to real-world situations and NHRA Drag Racing.
The event was hosted in part by UTI’s Mooresville campus, NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech). NASCAR Tech is the only campus in the country to offer NASCAR-endorsed training to students preparing for a career in motorsports. A 15-week elective program, which builds on the standard Universal Technical Institute core automotive program, trains students in everything from engines, fabrication, and welding, to aerodynamics and pit crew essentials.
“Today’s vehicles, whether they’re built for the street or the racetrack, are high-tech and computer-driven, and it takes an advanced set of technical skills to work on them,” said Jennifer Bergeron, campus president at NASCAR Technical Institute. “Today’s event showed students what a career in motorsports is all about, and the training it takes to make it in the high-demand field of automotive technology. We’re very excited about our new partnership with NHRA and the career opportunities possible for our current and future students.”
Students from schools around the region were invited to take part in the program during the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Race in Concord, N.C. They were treated to live, interactive demonstrations and displays at the track, a presentation on career opportunities with speakers from UTI, professional race teams, and NHRA officials, and then a tour of the pits before getting a front row seat to the day’s qualifying races.
“The NHRA is extremely excited to partner with Universal Technical Institute and NASCAR Technical Institute to provide the opportunity for students to learn about a career in racing, the automotive marketplace and to enjoy a day at the races,” said Brad Gerber, NHRA VP and Chief Development Officer. “We had high schools come as far as two hours away for this event, and the NHRA looks forward to being back at zMax Dragway this October 11-13.”
Demand for trained technicians is high. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that, by 2026, there will be more than 1.2 million job openings nationally across the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries.1 To accommodate this demand, the transportation industry will need to fill – on average – 120,000 positions each year. As part of the Technicians and Technology Career Expo & Open House, attendees will learn how they can be trained to help fill these jobs in as little as 11 months.