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New SEMA Program Supports Automotive Education

By SEMA Editors

Students With Jeep
Through SEMA's newly introduced student initiative, high-school students will oversee and execute the build of an entire project vehicle.

SEMA has launched a new program designed to support and engage high-school students in the automotive hobby. As part of the pilot program, high-school students will oversee and execute the build of an entire project vehicle, including tracking time, expenses and associated resources, using a pre-owned vehicle purchased and donated by SEMA. The project will create a self-sustaining program with the completed vehicle sold to raise money for the purchase of another vehicle that can be used for a similar project the following school year.

“Our hope is that the one-time purchase and vehicle donation will initiate an ongoing program at the school and allow hundreds of students to participate over the years,” said SEMA Board of Directors Chairman Wade Kawasaki. “We are optimistic and excited about this program, and look forward to seeing what the students accomplish.”

The pilot program began last month with the delivery of a ’15 4WD Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to students at the Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) Auto Shop Program in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students have begun identifying priorities and creating a plan for the project, which will be sold by the end of the school year in May 2018.

“The Santa Fe ECO program is dedicated to training and preparing students for careers in the automotive industry,” said Auto Collision Technology Instructor Chris Coriz. “Having an actual vehicle to work on is incredibly valuable. We’re excited and appreciative to SEMA for supporting our program.”

SEMA continues to support the project, and is helping to secure parts donations and volunteers to serve as mentors to the students. Those interested in supporting the project, or wanting more details should contact SEMA Senior Director of Education Zane Clark.

As one of several SEMA programs designed to support and encourage youth in the automotive industry, SEMA hopes to be able to replicate the program at high schools throughout the country.

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