High School Students Test Drive Automotive Technician Training at NASCAR Technical Institute - Engine Builder Magazine
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High School Students Test Drive Automotive Technician Training at NASCAR Technical Institute

Universal Technical Institute’s Mooresville, N.C. campus, NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech), is celebrating another successful year of the Ignite program, a free, three-week introduction to automotive technician training for rising high school seniors in the Greater Charlotte, N.C.-area. Five local students had the opportunity to earn credits toward a UTI program through intensive, hands-on training, while also learning about high-demand careers in the transportation industry.

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“With so much demand for skilled technicians nationwide, it’s been exciting to see the Ignite program continue to serve our local students over the last few years,” said Jennifer Bergeron, campus president at NASCAR Technical Institute. “There’s never been a better time to work in transportation and the skilled trades; the need is abundant, and there are many opportunities. Through Ignite, students earn real-world, on-the-job experience while having doors opened to careers they may never have considered. We look forward to continuing the program at full capacity in summer 2022.”

Since program inception, NASCAR Tech has hosted more than 50 students. UTI launched Ignite nationwide in summer 2018 following a successful pilot program at campuses in Avondale, Ariz.; Houston, Texas; and Orlando, Fla. Participation has steadily increased nationwide from 57 students in its inaugural year to 511 students in 2019. Hundreds of high school juniors nationwide have now received state-of-the-industry STEM training at no cost through Ignite – and 60% of those students have enrolled to come back and attend UTI after they graduate high school.


Ignite participants learn automotive basics as they complete courses, which provide an introduction to some of the programs completed by full-time UTI students. The Ignite curriculum allows students to explore career opportunities in the transportation field, receive hands-on training on today’s state-of-the-industry technologies and learn from UTI graduates and local employers about the career opportunities that may be available to trained technicians. Participants who complete the Ignite program are eligible to receive credit toward future UTI courses so that they can complete a UTI education and begin a career in the transportation sector more quickly.

The automotive industry needs highly trained professionals. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 61,000 service technician and mechanic job openings annually on average through 2029, including openings due to net employment changes and net replacements.

Engine Builder Magazine