UTI built for industry workforce growth
Long Beach, Calif.—Universal Technical Institute (UTI), the largest provider of post-secondary education in the automotive field, is also one of the most successful of its kind, placing four out of five students in their chosen industry career within a year of graduation, Larry Hohl, UTI-Long Beach campus president, said.
“UTI has been providing training for students seeking careers in automotive, diesel, collision, marine, motorcycle, and other vehicular fields for 50 years,” Hohl said. “And the 142,000-square-foot Long Beach campus, which opened in August 2015, is already on track to continue filling the industry needs for technicians.”
Hohl said UTI’s job market and industry partners can’t get enough skilled technicians to meet demand, which was a primary reason why the Long Beach campus was built, along with demand from prospective students in the area.
Industry surveys project there will be more than 1.2 million jobs in automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, and marine technician type categories by the year 2024, and that means we’ve got to find and fill 37,000 technician jobs on average every year nationwide.” Hohl said.
“This is especially true in Southern California, where the need for automotive, diesel, and collision repair technicians is particularly strong,” he said. “And projections for California show that the need for technicians will increase 15 percent by 2022.”
To achieve that, UTI is a vocational school in the U.S. that emphasizes direct partnerships with OEM manufacturers to create some of the most innovative, relevant, and sophisticated education programs in the automotive (including hybrid), diesel, collision, motorcycle, marine, and motorsports industries, he said.
“Our partners guide programs, invest in our facilities, and give our students the chance to work with the most current technology and tools. As a result, our students leave UTI with the knowledge and skills that employers want.”
Hohl said all programs are grounded in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) but geared toward hands-on learners so they can put what they learn to practical use in successful careers.
“UTI’s programs provide excellent value and return on students’ investment, giving the high-tech, industry-specific training students need to succeed in today’s sophisticated, high-tech jobs,” he said.
The new campus has the capacity to train up to 800 students who can complete their education in Automotive Technology, Diesel Technology, and Collision Repair and Refinish Technology, and be ready to work in 11 to 18 months.
The Long Beach and other UTI campuses are supported by local employers and major transportation manufacturers and has manufacturer-specific advanced training (MSAT) partnerships with more than 30 leading transportation brands, including BMW, Nissan, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Peterbilt, and NASCAR.
“BMW is busy investing money into facilities like UTI, trying to get qualified technicians out to the floor,” said Toshio Shintaku, a member of the technical support team for several BMW centers in the area.
“MSAT graduates can qualify for highly specialized dealership positions requiring brand-specific knowledge,” Hohl said. “Students in UTI’s core program may apply for MSATs of nine to 23 weeks with tuition for some MSATs paid by manufacturers or dealers if the students commit to employment.”
Those partners invest in our facilities, and give UTI students the chance to work with the most current technology and tools, such as Snap-on.
Phil Seibold, who started at UTI in the auto/diesel department as an instructor is now education manager for the collision department, said education and training is split between the lab and classroom, with one instructor for every 20 students on average.
“We require faculty to have a deep level of industry experience in order to maintain the integrity of our industry-relevant programs,” Hohl said. “All of our instructors have at least five years of direct industry experience, with many having more than twenty years in the field.”
Hohl said that while critical thinking is important to a potential employer, professionalism, which is reflected in attitude, on-time attendance, and attire, are also important.
UTI is committed to providing students with the skills necessary to succeed in the global marketplace of the 21st century by delivering a blended learning curriculum that offers more convenience and training flexibility for its students, Hohl said.
“Along with extensive hands-on experience supported by classroom instruction, we also employ interactive online learning, which is similar to the way techs learn in the field.”
UTI has an active employment services department with an interactive job availability touch-screen monitor. UTI also provides students with housing assistance and support for financial aid and scholarships.
Several times a year the campus also has a job fair where students can talk with UTI partners and other industry-related employers.
“We are excited about the reception and support we have received from the community and local educators,” Hohl said. “Student applications are ahead of schedule and we’ve added classes to accommodate the demand.