The nonprofit TechForce Foundation has wrapped up its first 12-week-long afterschool program designed to expose youth to automotive technical careers.
The TechForce Foundation teamed up with the Arizona Science Center to present the program. Students from Phoenix’s Estrella Middle School created gear packages as part of the “Transportation Challenge.”
The concept for the challenge was created by Greg Settle, TechForce director of national initiatives, and Tim Dwyer, education specialist at ConsuLab Educatech Inc.
Under Dwyer’s direction, industry volunteers from the ASE Training Manager’s Council (ATMC) built out specific “challenge scenarios” that the students were able to choose from and execute. The goal was to help students solve real-world technical challenges that have been faced in the transportation industry. The Challenge concluded with students demonstrating their projects to their parents and a number of special guests from the community and the transportation industry.
To meet these challenges, Dwyer said these young people turned from being a group of individuals into team members who relied on one another. His sentiment was echoed by Michael Medalla, manager of the Toyota USA Foundation and guest attendee, who said: “The students working together as a team and collaborating is so important when talking about career readiness and working in industry.” In this environment, he added, “Nobody works by themselves.”
Here's a look at middle schoolers in action at the event:
The Transportation Challenge program not only gives youth opportunities to invent, design, and fabricate materials for actual use, but opens their eyes to the opportunities they may have in the workforce beyond going to college, according to Chevy Humphrey, the Hazel A. Hare President and CEO of the Arizona Science Center. “Every child has a path and for some, college isn’t the best fit. But when presented an opportunity to gain a high level of training to become a mobility technician and fill much needed workforce positions, our youth see alternate ways to become successful and utilize their talents and passion.”
The Transportation Challenge program was underwritten by General Motors, Nissan North America, Advance Auto Parts, Snap-on and Universal Technical Institute. It will continue at the Arizona Science Center in 2018 with new teams and new projects to be announced at a later date.
For more information, visit www.techforcefoundation.org.