ORLANDO, Fla., June 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- As automotive sales in the United States continue to increase and cars on the road become more technologically advanced, demand is high for skilled auto technicians that understand the intricacies of repairing America's fleet of automobiles. For 65 years, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition has served as a platform for the nation's top young automotive minds to display their skills and a springboard to embark on careers in auto repair. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, auto industry jobs are projected to increase in the coming years and the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition highlights America's best young talent poised to join the industry.
The 2014 Student Auto Skills Competition culminates with the crowning of a national champion on Tuesday, June 10 at Ford Motor Company's World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. The competition features 100 top automotive technology students from all 50 states, with each state represented by a two-student team and their high school instructor. In addition to celebrating the 65th anniversary of the competition, 2014 also marks AAA's 30-year and Ford's 20-year sponsorship of the event and commitment to harvesting quality auto talent to better service the consumers nationwide.
At the National Finals, the students will have their automotive skills and knowledge put to the test with a written exam and a timed event in which they race against the clock and each other to identify glitches and repair deliberately-installed "bugs" in identical 2014 Ford Fusion SEs. The team with the best combined written and hands-on score will win the national championship.
The road to Dearborn began in January when nearly 13,000 high school juniors and seniors took an online exam testing their automotive technology knowledge, and will culminate with one team earning the title of national champion. In addition to scholarships and prizes, this year's national champions will earn a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain hands-on experience through a weeklong job shadow experience with auto racing royalty, Wood Brothers Racing's legendary No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team and 2011 Daytona 500 Winner Trevor Bayne leading up to and during the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla. this July. For these two auto student national champions and their instructor, this extraordinary job shadow experience extends from a high-tech performance garage in North Carolina to the world-famous Daytona International Speedway. It includes the following:
- Immersion of the winning students into the Wood Brothers Racing team as these expert auto technicians prepare for one the biggest events on the Sprint Cup Series calendar – the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 5
- Serving as honorary pit crew members on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion under the guidance of Crew Chief Donnie Wingo
- Mentoring by No. 21 driver Trevor Bayne at both the Wood Brothers Racing shop in Harrisburg, North Carolina and also trackside at Daytona
"Every week, me and the other drivers get all the attention on the track," said Bayne, "But really, we wouldn't even be able to race if it wasn't for our crew. Our team is the best in the business. They spend their whole week working to keep that No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane car in top condition for me to race."
"The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition is an unparalleled opportunity for the thousands of students across the country who want to break into the industry. I'm pretty excited to see these National Champions. Although the students are only in high school, they can work on the world's best cars themselves. Who knows, maybe one of these students will end up on our pit crew!" said Bayne.
Founded in 1950, Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team in NASCAR. The Wood Brothers have won 14 Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway, more than any other team in the sport. The Wood Brothers' most recent trip to victory lane came at the 2011 Daytona 500, when then 20-year-old Bayne become the youngest driver ever to win NASCAR's most prestigious race.
As cars continue to become more advanced, Ford is leading the way with new technologies such as all-electric vehicles, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake assist, hands-free entertainment and communication systems. Understanding the mechanics behind these technologies is essential to the future of the automotive industry, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills challenge focuses on technological practices, while educating the next generation of technicians in traditional mechanical principles so they will be able to understand and on new vehicles.
Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills enables many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry to help fuel the rising demand for well-trained technicians that can repair both computer and mechanical components in today's advanced vehicles. Both the national and the state-wide competitions are organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country. The competition awards nearly $10 million in scholarships to thousands of high school auto students each year, including the national title winners, allowing them to further their education in this rapidly changing industry.
About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills
The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers over $10 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. Approximately, 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students' automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit autoskills.aaa.com.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 183,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.
AAA news releases, high-resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at AAA.com/news. Additional information about Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is available at autoskills.aaa.com.
For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com