NAPA Issues Call for the Next Generation of Technicians During National Apprenticeship Week
Joining with TechForce Foundation for its “Grab the Wheel” campaign, the aftermarket leader is launching The NAPA Success for Techs Scholarship fund to shine a light on exciting technician career paths
November 13, 2023 — ATLANTA — It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and NAPA, through the NAPA Network, is reaching out to the next generation of technicians and making it easier than ever to see themselves in a rewarding career through the “Grab the Wheel” campaign. This effort between NAPA and the TechForce Foundation contributes to a collective goal of hiring one million new automotive and aviation technicians in the next five years.
From November 13 – 30, interested applicants can apply for one of five The NAPA Success for Techs Scholarships. Recipients will be awarded this fall with a tool kit and financial contribution to jumpstart their technician career. The application and requirements to submit can be accessed at TechForce.org/Scholarships.
“There is so much more to being a technician than people realize,” said Jason Rainey, vice president of NAPA Auto Care. “As a technician, there is a clear career ladder in the auto industry and potential to work in other modes of transportation, such as motor sports, aviation and aeronautics. And with the growth of EV, they are on the cutting edge of technology. The NAPA Network seeks to not only show them the possibilities available to them but also provide them with the resources they need to land the career of their dreams.”
To illustrate the exciting careers that come with a technician education, throughout National Apprenticeship Week, NAPA and TechForce Foundation will highlight unique stories within the technician sector through the “Grab the Wheel” campaign, including:
- Jeff Gordon: the NASCAR Hall of Famer knows all too well the importance of surrounding a driver with the best technicians and pit crew to win championships. Now, as vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon brings decades of racing experience to his role, ensuring the NASCAR world continues to advocate for and support technicians in their pursuit of a career in the sport.
- Chad Knaus: as the former crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, Knaus is the only crew chief in NASCAR history to have earned five consecutive Cup Series championships. He understands the importance of technician education to keep NASCAR’s stars safely on the track intimately, carrying that passion through in his current role at Hendrick Motorsports. He has worked in NASCAR since 1991.
- Erica Smith: Erica was awarded a NAPA toolkit through its Women in Auto Care Scholarship collaboration to continue her career as an automotive technician. Erica was introduced to “backyard mechanics” at a young age, fixing friends’ old cars and lawn equipment. She founded John’s Lawn Service – named for her late father – to combat hesitance from prospective customers in hiring a woman. Today as a mom of two, she’s successfully working in Bakersfield, CA as a technician in an industry that began as a hobby.
“Even though the drivers are the only people behind the wheel, make no mistake – racing is a team sport, and the technicians and pit crew play a crucial role,” said Jeff Gordon, vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports. “There are many rewarding paths technicians can pursue – including the racetrack – so I’m thrilled to support NAPA and TechForce’s efforts to revitalize this career track.”
As America’s largest network of parts and care – and the sponsor of NAPA Racing – NAPA’s partnership with TechForce and its The NAPA Success for Techs Scholarship opportunity are just a few of the ways the NAPA Network is making it easier to learn more about the technician trade and take steps toward a career in the field.
NAPA’s efforts also include the existing NAPA Auto Care Apprenticeship Program, giving aspiring technicians a path to in-demand positions in the automotive industry alongside mentors to complete their ASE certifications over the course of 18 to 24 months. Most recently, through its continued partnership with Women in Auto Care, 20 toolkits valued at $9,000 each were awarded to female students across the U.S. who are interested in a career in the auto care industry. NAPA also has a strategic alliance with Universal Technical Institute (UTI), supporting the future of those seeking careers in the transportation and aftermarket auto repair industries.
To learn more from NAPA about turning your love for cars into a rewarding career, visit https://techforce.org/thats-not-you/
Learn about ways you can support TechForce Foundation by visiting https://techforce.org/ways-to-help/.
Through nearly 6,000 auto parts stores and over 18,000 auto care and collision centers in the U.S., NAPA has America’s largest network of parts and care. The NAPA Network is supported by nationwide distribution centers with more than 725,000 available parts, accessories and supplies. Widely recognized for quality parts, rapid availability and knowledgeable people, NAPA Auto Parts stores serve automotive service professionals, do-it-yourselfers and everyday drivers with quality parts, accessories and supplies to keep cars, trucks and equipment performing safely and efficiently. For more information, visit www.napaonline.com.
About TechForce Foundation
TechForce Foundation is a national nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion all students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians. TechForce powers the technician workforce by awarding more than $2.3 million in scholarships and grants annually to financially disadvantaged students; changes perceptions towards this evolving, ‘new collar’ STEM career; and provides local career exploration and workforce development programming. TechForce’s online network of students, working technicians, instructors, employers, industry professionals and enthusiasts committed to championing the technician workforce is the conduit through which the charity delivers its free resources, programs and career hub for the benefit of aspiring technicians. For more information, visit techforce.org. Follow us on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.