High schoolers head to Universal Technical Institute for free summer coursework

Avondale, AZ | Submitted by Patrick Bennett

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For more than 50 years, Universal Technical Institute (UTI) has been providing high quality technical training for automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians in the west Valley. UTI is the nation’s largest provider of this training, which is increasingly sought after by employers.

In fact, industry demand for trained transportation technicians continues to accelerate. 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.

To encourage more youth to consider this career path, UTI launched Ignite, a free program to train high school students in fundamental auto, diesel and motorcycle technician skills. Offered at its 12 campuses nationwide, Ignite recently completed its second summer.

Aimed at high school juniors, Ignite’s participants are given a glimpse into the world of automotive, diesel, collision and motorcycle training – an introductory sample of the programs completed by traditional UTI students. The curriculum puts a strong emphasis on the high-tech nature of today’s transportation industry and allows students to explore career opportunities in the transportation field while meeting UTI graduates and local employers.

At the end of the two 3-week courses, participants have the opportunity to take an exam to earn UTI course credit that can be applied to future degree perusal. With an Arizona Education Progress Meter goal to increase post high school enrollment to 70 percent from 53, the Ignite program has proven to be a great way to both introduce high school students to a UTI education and open their eyes to the many career opportunities available to trained transportation technicians. This past summer alone, the Avondale campus hosted more than 40 youth who showed a strong interest in returning to continue their studies after graduating from high school.

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