More than 35 high school students from around the region competed in a fast-paced annual competition designed to get students excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and introduce them to the high-demand field of automotive technology. The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge was hosted on Saturday by Universal Technical Institute’s Mooresville campus, NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech).
The Forsyth Central High School team from Cumming, Georgia, took home the top prize, competing against five other teams from Georgia and Virginia. Teams are judged on the ability to accurately tear down and rebuild an engine as quickly as possible. Qualifying teams will compete against more than 40 other high school teams at the Dual National Championship Qualifiers in November and December, where students can win up to $10,000 in UTI scholarships.
Modern vehicles are powered by sophisticated digital systems – requiring knowledge in each of the STEM areas. Students interested in auto technology are able to combine a strong foundation of STEM education with technology-based, hands-on opportunities.
“It’s rewarding to see so many students engaged in STEM education, and Hot Rodders of Tomorrow really demonstrates the skill needed to work on today’s high-tech engines,” said Jennifer Bergeron, campus president at NASCAR Technical Institute. “This competition is exposing students across the country to the high-demand, rewarding jobs available in automotive technology. Universal Technical Institute is proud to offer scholarships to the winning team members, and we’re excited about the opportunity to provide those students with the training they need to begin a successful career after high school.”
Organizers say the competition also teaches soft skills that translate to the workplace.
“Our students are the future of our industry, and the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow program gives them the opportunity to earn scholarships, learn team work, and grow as a person,” said Greg Parker, event director for Hot Rodders of Tomorrow. “Because of partners like UTI, the instructors, and volunteers, our program continues to grow. Our students earn more than $1 million in scholarships every year to give them a jumpstart on furthering their education.”
Industry demand for trained automotive and diesel technicians continues to accelerate. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that, by 2026, 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 need to fill more than 120,000 technician job openings annually, on average.
For more information: hotroddersoftomorrow.com.