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Universal Technical Institute Launches Free High School Summer Program

The new “Ignite” program lets students “test drive” a UTI education, and take a first step toward a transportation career.


Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is launching “Ignite,” a free summer program to train high school juniors in fundamental transportation technician skills. Participating students will receive intensive, hands-on training and are prepared for testing to receive UTI course credit once enrolled. Ignite will be offered at each of UTI’s 12 campuses nationwide.

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“There is tremendous need across the transportation industry for trained technicians,” said Kim McWaters, UTI president and CEO. “Our free Ignite program introduces a new generation of young students to a UTI education and gives them a taste for the fulfilling career opportunities that await in the transportation field. We had great success with Ignite as a pilot program in 2017, and now we’re excited to bring this unique training to the rest of our UTI campuses.”

During the program’s two, three-week courses, Ignite participants are given a glimpse into the world of automotive, diesel, collision repair or motorcycle training – an introductory sample of the programs completed by traditional UTI students. The Ignite curriculum emphasizes the high-tech nature of today’s transportation industry. Students explore career opportunities in the transportation field while meeting UTI graduates and local employers.


In 2017, UTI successfully piloted the Ignite program at three campuses: Avondale, Arizona; Houston; and Orlando, Florida. Each of the programs had strong interest among students, a large percentage of whom also indicated their intention to return to UTI as a full-time student upon graduating high school. Best of all, these students were prepared for testing to receive credit toward future UTI coursework – enabling them to complete a UTI education and begin a career in the transportation sector faster than ever before.

Industry demand for trained transportation technicians has continued to accelerate. Most recently, the federal government tripled its estimate for the number of transportation technicians needed nationwide by 2026. According to new projections, there will be more than 1.2 million job openings in the automotive, diesel and collision repair industries. To help reach that total, the transportation industry will have to fill more than 120,000 technician job openings annually on average.


“For technicians with the right skills and training, employment opportunities are abundant across the automotive and diesel industry,” said McWaters. “The Ignite program allows us to expose more prospective students to a UTI education – strengthening our enrollment pipeline and helping us deliver the trained technicians our employer partners need.”

The Ignite program is now accepting applications across UTI’s 12 campuses. For more information or to enroll, visit