SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Technical Institute (NYSE: UTI) is marking the close of its 50th anniversary year by recognizing the driving forces behind its success — its students, graduates, industry partners and team members.
A celebration at its flagship Avondale, Ariz., campus will highlight the dedication of its employees, successful graduates from each of the past five decades, and how UTI's collaboration with industry partners has helped it to deliver exceptional outcomes for its students and fuel the pipeline for skilled technicians.
The Scottsdale-based provider of education for automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians opened its first campus in Phoenix, Ariz., approximately 50 years ago with just two classrooms and 11 students. Today, UTI has 12 campus locations across the United States, and partners with manufacturers of more than 30 of the world's leading transportation brands, including BMW, Cummins, Ford, Freightliner, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.
These partners help design UTI's curricula, outfit the school's labs with the latest vehicles technology and diagnostic tools, support students, and help provide a direct pipeline to jobs. This industry-led, job-focused model — which UTI pioneered — uniquely prepares graduates for success by giving them the skills employers want and the high-tech knowledge they need to service and repair the sophisticated digital systems that power today's vehicles.
In its 50-year history, the school has graduated more than 190,000 students, and 4 out of 5 UTI graduates find employment in their field of study.
"For the past five decades, UTI has given hands-on learners an education that is simply not available in traditional academic settings," said Dr. Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education and a member of the school's board of directors. "Their quality education programs not only fill the pipeline for technical workers, but also fuel our economy."
Service technicians are in demand and go to work in jobs that pay well and offer opportunities for advancement.
By 2024, the U.S Department of Labor projects there will be more than 1.2 million technician jobs in the automotive and related industries. To reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 37,000 service technician job openings on average every year.
"The demand for highly skilled technicians has never been greater in our industry," said Michael Berardi, Director of Service Engineering Operations for Ford Motor Company. "Our valued partnership with UTI, an industry leader in automotive repair education, has helped to overcome this growing challenge for Ford and its franchised dealers."
The school's strong student outcomes and academic rigor have been recognized by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). UTI campuses in Arizona, California and Texas were among only 24 ACCSC-accredited institutions to receive the prestigious Schools of Excellence Award last year. Five other UTI campuses have been honored with the award previously.
UTI will make available more than $15 million in sponsored scholarships in 2016, and recently announced nearly $500,000 in scholarships for members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America this year. UTI also is a major donor, along with companies including Nissan North America, Penske Truck Leasing and Snap-on Tools, to the Universal Technical Institute Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of supporting financially disadvantaged students' technical education through grants, scholarships, and other resources.
In addition, more than 1,000 automotive dealerships, 1,000 diesel truck/equipment dealers and 250 collision repair and service centers offer Tuition Reimbursement and Incentive Programs (TRIP) to UTI graduates,4 representing a 209 percent increase in participating employers compared to the previous year.
With 50 years of success behind the company, UTI is moving confidently toward the future. In 2015, the company opened the second of several planned smaller, locally focused campuses in metropolitan markets where there is strong demand from both students and employers. The new campus, which opened in August 2015 in Long Beach, Calif., has had to open additional sessions to meet student demand. The company also announced new industry partnerships with Fiat Chrysler America, KTM Motorcycles, Roush Yates Engines, Bosch, Crown Equipment, Pennzoil and WD-40, and is working to expand its education offerings with new Welding Technology and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Machining Technology programs.
"I am so inspired by the students who have followed their passion to UTI and made their dreams come true. I am truly appreciative of the support of our industry partners and our dedicated employees, who care so passionately about our students and their success," said Kim McWaters, UTI's chairman and CEO. "As I look back on our last 50 years, I am very proud of the work this company has done to help our students build rewarding careers, keep the transportation industry moving, and contribute to the economy."
About Universal Technical Institute, Inc.
Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (NYSE: UTI) is the leading provider of post-secondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. With more than 190,000 graduates in its 50-year history, UTI offers undergraduate degree and diploma programs at 12 campus locations across the United States, as well as manufacturer-specific training programs at dedicated training centers. Through its campus-based school system, UTI provides specialized post-secondary education programs under the banner of several well-known brands, including Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) and NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech). For more information, visit uti.edu.
For information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, visit our website at www.uti.edu/disclosure.
 Approximately 9,200 of the 9,900 UTI graduates in 2014 were available for employment. At the time of reporting, approximately 8,100 were employed within one year of their graduation date, for a total of 88%. Per UTI's accreditor's reporting standards, this rate excludes graduates in the following classifications: continuing education, active military service deployment, a health condition that prevents employment, incarceration, international students who have returned to their country of origin, or death. This rate includes graduates employed in positions that were obtained before or during their UTI education, where the primary job duties after graduation align with the educational and training objectives of the program. UTI cannot guarantee employment or salary.
 Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2014-2024), www.bls.gov, viewed Dec. 8, 2015.
 Scholarships are available to those who qualify. Specific conditions, criteria and awards vary by state. Award period ends Sept. 30, 2016.
 Incentive programs and employee eligibility are at the discretion of the employer and available at select locations. Special conditions may apply. Students are encouraged to talk to potential employers to learn more about the programs available in their area.
SOURCE Universal Technical Institute, Inc.