This week marks National Apprenticeship Week, and through the NAPA Network, NAPA has joined TechForce Foundation and its "Grab the Wheel" campaign and launched "The NAPA Success for Techs Scholarship" fund.
This effort aims to collectively hire one million new automotive and aviation technicians in the next five years.
From Nov. 13 to 30, interested applicants can apply for The NAPA Success for Techs Scholarships. Five scholarships are available, and 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 www.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 motorsports, aviation, and aeronautics. And with the growth of EVs, 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, California, 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.”