Earlier this month, we published an article headlined, “Ever wonder who’s going to fix your car in the future?” The article reported on a new tech-school scholarship program by WD-40, Advance Auto Parts stores and the TechForce Foundation.
A few days later, another story, this one headlined, “SEMA offers scholarships for future auto techs.”
To further encourage young people, and especially Generation Z, to consider careers not only in automotive work but also in science, technology, engineering and math, TechFord and Penske Truck Leasing were at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction site this past weekend to unveil a specially equipped 26-foot Freightliner M2 box truck that houses and transports the TechForce Mobile STEM Career Center.
“The TechForce Mobile STEM Career Center is a traveling hands-on exhibit designed to engage Gen Z and help them discover the rewarding career path as professional technicians in the transportation field,” a news release noted.
“Part of TechForce’s national workforce development initiative, the Center can be deployed for indoor or outdoor activities and can scale from several hands-on activities to more than a dozen. It features a built-in exterior video wall as well as retractable awnings and two large free-standing shade covers.”
“This generous donation from Penske Truck Leasing is helping amplify TechForce’s ability to directly engage with many more young people who may not realize they might have a knack for this career path,” said TechForce chief executive Jennifer Maher.
“Although we developed the STEM career activities over the past few years, we’ve been limited by our ability to deploy them – these are big and heavy activities. This Penske truck makes us highly mobile, and we are looking forward to hitting the road in 2022.
“Technicians are a key component of keeping the supply chain in motion by servicing existing diesel engines and the emerging EV technologies,” added Art Vallely, president of Penske Truck Leasing. “Investing in the next generation of technicians is vital to our business and industry.”
Activities housed in the truck include:
- Pit Stop Challenge – A race against the clock to see who can change the tires fastest on the front clip of a real NASCAR racer, using real power tools from the racing pits.
- Go Nutz – A test to match fasteners (nuts) to Snap-on wrenches.
- The Virtual V8 – See the inner workings of the virtual V8 engine projected into your real world.
- Off the Line – A test of reflexes using a drag racing Christmas tree.
- Slot Car Racing – See how shape and weight can determine the winning car as you take on challengers.
- High-tech circuits – Build a functioning circuitry with real circuit boards, wires, motors and lights.
- How’s It Work – Discovery station manned by instructors who demonstrate some of the common auto systems and maybe even some catastrophic failures.
- Model of Power – Building a functioning scaled-down model of a V8 engine.
- Cutaway V10 – See the inner workings of a high-performance V10 engine.
- Code-A-Car – Write code to power miniature auto functions such as lights and fans.
- Ford GT – Possible photo opp with the Nicolas Cage Ford GT.
- TechForce Network – Learn about free competitions, events, training and other resources for the next generation of techs.
In addition to Penske and Roush, which did the graphics and truck wrap, partners in the truck include Shell Lubricants, Ford, Sunstate Equipment and Snap-on tools.