Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett will be taking next-generation service technicians to school during the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil, scheduled for April 12-14 in Houston. The NHRA stars will host pit tours and visit with Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) students from the area to help kickoff the program’s “Assemble Your Future” initiative.
Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Hagan and Mopar Dodge Top Fuel pilot Pritchett will meet with a group of more than 50 Mopar CAP students, instructors and FCA US LLC dealer representatives on Friday, April 12, at the Houston NHRA event.
The “Assemble Your Future” initiative will bring Mopar CAP students to four NHRA events in 2019 to network with dealer representatives, identify potential career opportunities and meet Mopar and Dodge//SRT NHRA racers as a reward for their participation in the program. The new initiative was made possible with support from Pennzoil, which is headquartered in Houston and is title sponsor of Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil.
“We’re excited to launch the Mopar CAP ‘Assemble Your Future’ initiative and host our first group of technician students,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) and Passenger Car Brands, FCA – North America. “This program allows the technicians of tomorrow to connect with more than 10 dealerships from the Houston area for potential career opportunities. It also provides a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet and interact with NHRA superstars.”
Students from Lone Star Community College – North Harris in Houston and San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) pit paddocks and will have the opportunity to meet with Hagan, Pritchett and their crews.
Mopar CAP, established in 1984, prepares students to begin their automotive technician careers upon graduation from a certified, two-year training institution, such as a university, college, community college or technical center. Currently, FCA has more than 9,000 active students enrolled in its Mopar CAP program, with students completing more than 100,000 class courses.
There are an estimated 750,000 auto technicians working nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Across the industry, another 46,000 will need to be hired between 2019 and 2026 to meet increased demand.
For Hagan, whose family owns the Motor Mile Chrysler Dodge JeepⓇ Ram dealership in Christiansburg, Virginia, and also operates a stand-alone Mopar Express Lane service center in Pulaski, Virginia, the growing need for skilled dealership technicians is one that hits close to home.
“From my father’s experiences running the dealership, I know there is a huge demand for dealership technicians,” said Hagan, who is seeking his second win at the Houston venue, and earlier this year earned the first victory for the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car body. “I know it’s something my dad and his team deals with every day. I’ve had the chance to meet and talk with Mopar CAP students in the past, and it’s great to see these young kids who are getting a big jump on their career paths early on, and in an area where there is so much need.”
Following the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals, the “Assemble Your Future” campaign will visit three additional NHRA national events:
Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil: July 19-21, 2019, at Bandimere Speedway near Denver
Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil: September 12-15, 2019, at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania
Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil: October 31 – November 3, 2019, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
The “Assemble Your Future” presence at the four NHRA races will encompass close to 12 Mopar CAP schools operating in those areas. The goal is to continue expanding the campaign by adding more racing venues in the future.
“We want to start slow and then continue to build,” said Keith Yancy, Director of the FCA Performance Institute. “Our hope is to expand this campaign so we can reach all of our 99 schools now teaching our CAP curriculum.”
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019