Conference held to inspire girls to pursue STEM careers

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) and IGNITES around the world recently brought together high schools in nine states for a virtual panel with a group of amazing women who work in the automotive and motorsports industries. As part of UTI’s effort to diversify the workforce and increase recruitment in skilled trades, she has also been hosting in-person events for high school girls in her network of campuses and offering $100,000 in tuition scholarships.

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During the virtual panel, students heard from moderator Kristin Labonte, president of Breaking Limits, panelist Sophie Fox, CEO of Women & Wheels, Madison Conrad, vice president and engine builder of Roush Yates Engines, Jennifer LaFever, vice president of Roush Yates Engines, and Brooke Ulrich, regional facility and equipment service manager for Home Depot. The women discussed their education and career paths, the future for women in STEM, and some of their challenges along the way.

“When I was in high school, I applied for an auto technician program. And my family put me off because they said it wasn’t for women,” Fox said. “But if you have that passion, that spark, go for it. In 51 weeks (in ICU), you will have taken that first step to fulfill your dreams”.

“Women and non-binary people are on such an accelerated path of growth in traditionally male-dominated careers and industries,” Ulrich said. “We are closing the gap. In STEM industries, women are now welcomed, invited, and promoted, rather than just tolerated. We are finally at a place where we begin to understand what women can contribute and the future looks better than ever.”

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Currently, the demand for labor in the transport sector is important at the national level, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that there are approximately 84,000 new job openings each year for automotive, diesel, and collision repair technicians¹.

“We know that a diverse workforce benefits employers, employees and the economy, and we are constantly working to diversify our student body to meet the demand for skilled workers,” said Jerome Grant, executive director of Universal Technical Institute. “Through partnerships with organizations like IGNITE Worldwide, we are able to raise awareness of the career opportunities available to our graduates and offer tuition scholarships to further help girls and women pursue rewarding, lifelong careers in the transportation industry. ”.

Eligibility for the grant is extended to any student who is female or who identifies as female who attends an in-person or virtual IGNITE Worldwide event. Tuition scholarships can be used for UTI programs at any of its 12 campuses located in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and are offered at the following levels: a $25,000 grant; a $15,000 grant; a $10,000 grant; and 22 $2,000 grants. the application the deadline is April 29, 2022.

“IGNITE Worldwide has been working to achieve gender and racial equity in STEM for more than 20 years,” said IGNITE Worldwide Founder and CEO Cathi Rodgveller. “Currently, women represent just over 1 in 4 STEM workers, but we firmly believe that all girls deserve equal access to STEM education. By bringing girls together virtually and in person, we are promoting economic equality and workforce development, and connecting IGNITE students with role models who live and work in their communities.”

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¹ Vacancies include vacancies due to net job changes and net replacements. See Table 1.10 Occupational Separations and Vacancies, Projected for 2020–30 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.govretrieved March 9, 2022.