Arizona Science Center, TechForce Foundation aim to inspire next generation of automotive experts with transportation challenge

CREATE U program focuses on skills training, technical trades

PHOENIX (December 15, 2017) As Valley businesses see a skills-gap in specialized training for jobs that do not require a four-year college degree, specifically the automotive and diesel industry, Arizona Science Center and TechForce Foundation have created an afterschool program introducing urban youth in grades seven through nine to the many opportunities in the automotive, diesel and collision industry and technical trade jobs.

In September, the two organizations launched “CREATE U: TechForce Transportation Challenge,” a 12- week program that started with student teams (and teachers) from Estrella Middle School submitting a proposed project for an innovative automotive or transportation component that would strive to solve real-world industry challenges posed directly by experts in the field. Teams spent two-hours each week at CREATE at the Arizona Science Center where they had access to laser cutters, 3D printers and wood shop to bring their automotive or transportation prototype to life. Industry experts attend each session to provide real-world insight and training to the students.

“It is so amazing to see these students come together to work as teams to solve these very challenging tasks,” said Jennifer Maher, TechForce CEO/Executive Director. “From lessons on structural engineering and material compatibility to the chemistry of atmospheric air and how it affects an engine, these are projects that would not be available in a traditional classroom setting. We applaud Arizona Science Center for providing a space like CREATE to provide the tools and resources for these talented and creative students to complete these challenges.”

On Friday, December 15 th , teams from Estrella Middle School showcased their progress on the three challenge concepts; a crash test in which the team was tasked with engineering a two-axle vehicle that would protect an egg in the event of a frontal impact; engineering a working turbocharger for the compression of intake air into an internal combustion engine; and build a planetary gear set utilizing a fixed speed electric motor that will move a fixed weight a certain distance.

“This 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,” said 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.”

For more information on CREATE U and the TechForce Transportation Challenge, please email

About Arizona Science Center

The mission of Arizona Science Center is to inspire, educate and engage curious minds through science. The Center, located at 600 E. Washington Street in downtown Phoenix, features more than 300 hands- on exhibits, live demonstrations, the state-of- the-art Dorrance Planetarium and the five-story screen Irene P. Flinn Theater. CREATE at Arizona Science Center®, adjacent to the main building, is the newest addition. This 6,500 square foot community maker space provides workshops, including 3D printing, laser cutting, microcontrollers, oodworking and sewing. The Center also offers various programs for all ages. Programs include Camp Innovation, Teen Science Scene, Professional Development and Learning for Educators, and adults-only Science With A Twist. For further details, please visit

About TechForce Foundation

TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians. The Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants annually, thanks to its generous corporate sponsors and donors, and is spearheading FutureTech Success®, its industry-wide initiative to help encourage and support more young people to pursue the technician profession. For more information, visit