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Icahn Automotive Expands Race To 2026 Technician Recruitment Program To Avondale’s Universal Technical Institute

The program is a nationwide effort to recruit, train and retain automotive service technicians, and includes partnerships with leading technical schools to help fill an industry-wide talent gap of a projected 46,000 positions by 2026.

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Icahn Automotive Group LLC, which owns and operates Pep Boys, AAMCO and Precision Tune Auto Care, recently announced the addition of Universal Technical Institute’s (UTI) Avondale, Arizona, campus to its Race to 2026 initiative. The initiative encourages more men and women to pursue viable careers in the skilled trades by partnering with technical training schools and offering scholarships, tuition reimbursement, creating apprenticeship and internship programs, job placement and continuing education opportunities.

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Icahn Automotive, Pep Boys and AAMCO leaders and technicians, and UTI administrators, instructors and students came together in Avondale to unveil classrooms updated with designs that incorporate images of the well-known service brands. The renovated areas include new furniture and equipment and feature inspiring messages and wall graphics such as “Find the tools you need,” “Find your own path” and “Find out how far you can go.” To celebrate the partnerships, Jeramy Yeagley, an automotive technology student who is anticipated to graduate from UTI in February 2020, was presented with a $2,500 scholarship from Icahn Automotive.

“We’re passionate about offering more students the resources to forge a strong start in the automotive industry and showing them how rewarding a career in the skilled trades can be,” said Icahn Automotive President of Service Brian Kaner. “Partnerships with education organizations are essential to reach enough young people at a critical point in their decision-making process and continue to shift the perception of the automotive service technician.”

Icahn Automotive has nearly 60 Pep Boys and AAMCO locations in Arizona, and immediate openings for automotive service technicians of all levels. The need is reflective of the skills gap that exists in the automotive industry nationally. 

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the automotive industry will need nearly 46,000 more technicians by 2026 to meet anticipated demand. In any given year, there are as many as 75,000 job openings, due in large part to the retirement of the last generation of technicians who benefitted from broadly available vocational education programs. While this demand is on par with other fields, in recent decades, technical training and related career assistance for those interested in the skilled trades was not keeping pace.

Each year, however, UTI is graduating thousands of well-trained and qualified automotive service technicians, many of whom will go on to fill the many open automotive jobs across the country. The Avondale campus is one of 12 UTI locations across the nation and offers a 51-week automotive technology training program, along with advanced and manufacturer-specific training. The national Race to 2026 program was launched this past February at UTI’s NASCAR Technical Institute campus in Mooresville, North Carolina, where students can enroll in the automotive technology program as well as specialize in the NASCAR technology program.

Icahn Automotive offers a broad range of opportunities and career paths. Once a technician joins an Icahn Automotive business, they can take advantage of benefits such as tuition assistance, an apprenticeship program and company-sponsored certifications. The company also offers a scholarship program that in June will award 12 scholarships to full- or part-time students enrolled in an automotive technician degree and/or certification program at a high school, college or trade school.

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