A Southeast Community College (SCC) event Tuesday demonstrates how technology continues to advance in all aspects of life. The Second Annual Automotive Career Festival invites potential students interested in automotive technology to learn about how the industry has been changed by technology.

Since the addition of complex software to cars, even a small tune-up requires some electronic update or reset. At SCC, Automotive Technology program director Barry Smith understands the importance of these new skills. “We need that tech skill that’s [going to] come from a new generation of people and their excitement and understanding of how to integrate that into the workplace,” said Smith. “We want to attract workers that can stay ahead of the technology curve.”

Students can expect to learn much more than just turning wrenches. The program offers 6 different paths including some designed for specific manufacturers such as GM and Subaru. Students can even find themselves working in virtual reality, learning how to properly apply paint to vehicles without wasting any money in the process. “[With] something as simple as paint, a lot of people don’t realize how technical that’s gotten,” said Smith.

Coming out of the program, Smith says graduates can expect to earn somewhere in the mid to upper $30,000 range, increasing towards the $50,000 to $60,000 range after five years. “The job market in the automotive industry is probably the strongest it’s ever been,” said Smith.

The program encourages enrollment from people of all ages, whether they’re coming out of high school or looking for a new career path.

The Second Annual Automotive Career Festival will be held at SCC’s campus on 8800 O St from 4 – 6:30 p.m.There will be a wide variety of vehicles from hot-rods to race cars, dozens of industry experts to answer and questions, and scholarship opportunities open to all attendees.

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