TechForce Announces Grand Prize Winner in 2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards

TechForce Foundation® Announces Grand Prize Winner of Annual FutureTechs Rock Awards

Taeler Coverdale of Houston honored with $1,000 scholarship and $4,000 in prizes; 10 transportation technician students honored with over $20,000 in National Awards

March 7, 2023 – PHOENIX – Taeler Coverdale, a Collision Repair student at Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas has been named as Grand Prize Winner in TechForce Foundation®’s 2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards. TechForce created this prestigious award to honor aspiring technicians and recognize students with a promising future in the transportation industry. Learn more about the 2023 Grand Prize and Category Winners at

“This is amazing! I’m in utter shock right now,” said Taeler upon learning she is this year’s Grand Prize Winner. “Thank you for the opportunity… being an example for other women… that’s what I want, that’s why I’m in this. I want to make a difference for women in this industry. If a girl sees that she might think she’s able to do this as a career.”

More than 4,000 TechForce followers voted in this year’s awards. The student with the most votes was Taeler, earning her the Grand Prize from among ten contenders who were all Category Winners. Taeler was previously named as the Collision Repair Category Winner.

“Role models like Taeler show students that there is a place for them in technician careers. As we all know, young people are so much more likely to pursue a career if they see people like them succeeding in it. Women account for less than 3% of transportation techs, and so welcoming women into the trade is critical to addressing the ongoing technician shortage. TechForce is proud to celebrate Taeler and the new generation of women joining the industry,” said TechForce Executive Director Jennifer Maher.

As the Grand Prize Winner Taeler will receive a $1,000 TechForce scholarship and $4,000 in prizes from TechForce and sponsors including Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Cengage Learning, CRC Industries, Mighty Auto Parts, New Ford Tech, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial, Volvo and WD-40 Company.

Through the FutureTechs Rock Awards TechForce and its partners have awarded 50 transportation technician students with over $67,000 in prizes and scholarships since 2019. The Awards are made possible because of generous donations from people and companies that believe everyone should have a chance to succeed.

Each of the ten Category Winners has been awarded $1,500 in prizes. Category Winners were selected by industry-expert judges from hundreds of High School and Post-Secondary nominations, representing 182 campuses across 38 states. 30% of the Category Winners were women, a significant proportion considering only 3% of professional technicians are women.

The ten Category Winners represent seven states and ten schools, with each being recognized in a distinct technical education discipline:

  • Automotive – Abbie Vetse, Hennepin Technical College, Maple Grove, MN
  • Aviation – Teresa Sacca, Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, CA
  • Collision Repair – Taeler Coverdale, Universal Technical Institute, Houston, TX
  • Diesel Off-Road – Nicholas Isaly, Lenawee ISD TECH Center, Adrian, MI
  • Diesel On-Road – Andrew Younkin, Western Technical College, El Paso, TX
  • Marine and Watercraft – Benjamin Pooler, Portland Arts & Technology High School, Buxton, ME
  • Motorcycle and ATV – Everrett Novak, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, Phoenix, AZ
  • Motorsports – Benjamin Delauter, NASCAR Technical Institute, Mooresville, NC
  • Restoration – Tyler Renken, Central Carolina Community College, Bunnlevel, NC
  • Welding and CNC – Connor Essary, St. Clair TEC, St. Clair, MI

The FutureTechs Rock Awards are part of TechForce’s workforce development campaign to inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. TechForce also created the first and only social network designed and gamified for professional technicians and tech students to connect with each other, employers and schools ( The transportation community is supporting it with content and using it to learn, connect, find events, and explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status.

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 and will award more $2.3 million in scholarships and grants in 2023 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, social 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 Follow us on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.


Women Techs Rock Grantee Jinelee Achieving Technician Career Dreams

This post was originally published October 24, 2022. The following is new information added April 25, 2023.

From 0-60: Jinelee is Reaching New Heights

Jinelee’s journey to becoming a tech started in 2020 with a broken-down car on the side of the road.

How a broken-down truck got Jinelee going

As she sat stuck for three hours because of an overheated engine, Jinelee felt the dread of not knowing what to do without the money to fix it.

Days later Jinelee took matters into her own hands. Thanks to YouTube, Google and instruction from a local shop she was able to get her truck back on the road! It was in this experience that Jinelee found her calling.

“I felt so proud of myself, I felt accomplished… Never in my life would I have thought this was something I’d like. I had never tried it, but now I feel as if it is my calling.”

Where Jinelee is now, three years later

Jinelee recently graduated from her Mercedes-Benz technician training program (pictured right), and has sinced been hired by Mercedes-Benz!

From a novice just three years ago to a professional technician today, she’s amazed by how far she has come in such a short amount of time. The challenges throughout her journey didn’t stop her, and they show us what’s possible when people come together to give others a little help along with way. 

Jinelee received a number of TechForce scholarships and grants throughout her journey. That support helped make it possible for Jinelee to continue pursuing, and ultimately achieve her incredible accomplishments.

TechForce scholarship recipient Jinelee poses for a photo at the graduation ceremony for her Mercedes-Benz technician training.

The original post from October 24, 2022 is continued below.

Meet Jinelee, Women Techs Rock Grant Recipient

Women Techs Rock grant recipient Jinelee discovered her passion for a tech career during the pandemic, and is already well on her way to achieving her new dream of owning an all-women’s garage!

How Jinelee got interested in a tech career

Jinelee Galindez examining an engine while studying for her tech career.
In the early part of the pandemic Jinelee experienced some medical problems that put her on unpaid leave. During that time, she says, “I just started working on my own truck, fixing and replacing parts. I began to spend my nights watching YouTube videos on random mechanic work, and found myself looking for things I could fix on my truck and what I could do to make it look and run better. Slowly, working on my truck dragged me out of an unhealthy place. Fixing my truck took me to another world where I felt like I was dancing and singing. Everything seemed so positive. Never in my life would have I thought this was something I would like. I had never tried it. But now I feel as if it is my calling… I have found a new skill that I love. Automotive!”

Early signs a tech career was the right fit

Looking back on her life, Jinelee admits there were signs that a technician career was in the cards for her.

“When I think about the things I used to do when I was little or even as an adult, it makes sense. I used to love fixing my bicycle and my friends’ bicycles, rollerblades and skateboards. I loved to put puzzles together and build random things out of anything I could find. As I got older, I still found myself doing similar things, such as building or putting together furniture. Using my hands to repair, build and just get my hands dirty has always been my thing and I NEVER realized it until I started working on my truck.”

Passion powers progress towards tech career

Jinelee says she is amazed how far she has come in such a short time, and she has big dreams for her future.

“I want my own car shop. A very girly shop. I want the equipment to be bright, fun colors, and I want it to have only women mechanics!”

Life's challenges inform Jinelee's perspective

Jinelee has overcome many very difficult personal challenges, but despite this, she says, “[My] focus [is] on people’s efforts. I like to make others feel positive, empowered, worthy, appreciated, and supported. I am one that can communicate encouragement to help people move forward but also hold them accountable in a loving way when tough love is needed. It’s important to inspire one another, challenge one another in reaching our full potential and celebrate each other for our successes.”

She is elated to have received the Women Techs Rock grant. Jinelee has worked incredibly hard to discover and be able to pursue her passion for a tech career. She is extremely grateful for this generous gift that will let her follow her passion, and hopefully inspire future women technicians!

If Jinelee’s story inspired you, we invite you to learn more about a technician career at


Women Technicians: Navigate the Transportation Technician Industry

Women in Tech Guide

Do you like working with your hands instead of sitting behind a desk? When your aunt pulls up in her classic VW Bug, are you beyond excited when she lets you look under the hood? If so, a career as an auto tech may be right for you.

Although the automotive world is made up of mostly men, the number of women in the field is growing every day. Opportunity abounds in repair shops, dealerships, and at car companies. There is a place for you to build an exciting career and maybe even launch your own business.


Chapter 1


Current Stats on Women in the Transportation Industry

Women fill less than a quarter of the jobs (23.6 percent in 2019) in the motor vehicle equipment and repair industries. Only 17.9 percent of dealers and 9.9 percent of maintenance and repair workers were women, so the field is wide open for tremendous growth.

This trend extends from the shop floor all the way up to the C-suite. In 2018, only sixteen women (8 percent) were executives in the Fortune Global 500’s top 20 motor vehicles and parts companies, a small improvement from four years earlier, when there were 14 female executives (7 percent). And the same is true outside of the US—only 17.5 percent of the European Union’s urban public transport workforce are women, and they account for barely 10 percent of EU operations and tech jobs.

The good news? There is plenty of room for women to make a significant impact at the highest levels of this industry. Yes, the current numbers are low, but that opens the door for you to both participate in, and help create a more inclusive future.

Women are just beginning to make their mark in transportation.

To find out more:

• Download an ebook PDF version of the Women in Tech Guide by filling out the form here.
• Or if you prefer to read it online go here.

Women Techs Rock! #WomenTechsRock

Residual Values: Interview with Jennifer Maher


Read Premier Financial Services, LLC’s interview with TechForce Foundation CEO & Executive Director Jennifer Maher in their Residual Values newsletter. Learn more about TechForce Foundation, the ongoing transportation technician shortage and Jennifer’s own experience as a woman in the transportation industry.

You can read the full interview below, or as PDF in your browser here>>


Page 1 of 4 of Residual Values: Interview with Jennifer Maher


Page 2 of 4 of Residual Values: Interview with Jennifer Maher

Page 3 of 4 of Residual Values: Interview with Jennifer Maher

Page 4 of 4 of Residual Values: Interview with Jennifer Maher




Please share your contact details and a TechForce team member will contact you.

"By connecting students, instructors, industry pros and working techs, the TechForce Foundation provides unilateral support to the transportation industry’s technician recruiting needs… The administration of our Scholarships by the TechForce team has been instrumental in delivering us with a successful method to gain interest from qualified candidates as well as provide our students with additional assistance to complete their education."
Tony Farr
Ford Technical Programs Manager