The Skills Gap. We’ve been talking about it for years. It’s a real problem in our world today, yet the gap is not narrowing. It’s talked about in many educational circles. At Universal Technical Institute, we are taking a proactive approach as we continue to help meet the need for STEM skills in the labor market today.
Since 1965, UTI has been known as the leading provider of technicians in the transportation industry. We provide training in the areas of auto, diesel, collision, motorcycle, marine, NASCAR, CNC and welding. In order to meet the demands of the skilled trades industry, we have expanded. We have added the MIAT College of Technology to the UTI family. Now we offer not only STEM skills training in transportation, but also manufacturing and energy. We now offer training in aviation, avionics, robotics, wind and solar power, HVAC and non-destructive testing. We have doubled the number of STEM career opportunities that we offer! Most of our programs now offer Associates’ Degrees.
Another area of concern is the lack of representation of women in the STEM skilled trades. Only 27% of STEM careers are occupied by women. In the auto industry alone, only 3% of technicians are women. Last year, UTI started our Women in STEM program designed to attract more females into STEM careers. We are hosting Women in STEM seminars inviting high school girls into our campuses to experience STEM. We bring in panelists of successful Women in STEM like Kristin Labonte, President of Breaking Limits and Sophie Fox, CEO of Women in Wheels. The girls get to hear about how they got where they are and to ask them questions and interact with them. We have hosted over a dozen of these events with the average attendance over 100. The girls get a chance to do something they have never experienced before. They get to see and experience STEM careers in fields previously dominated by men. We have already seen a 40% increase in female enrollments since starting this program. Last year, our accrediting body, ACCSC, awarded us the Community Service award for this program.
Finally, we feel making school more affordable is an important key. We offer over $15 million dollars in scholarships and grants* and work with many organizations such as the Imagine America Foundation where we have a 24-year partnership. But what we are very excited about is our TRIP package. TRIP stands for Tuition Reimbursement Incentive Program. We have hundreds of employers nationwide who are willing to invest in our graduates upon hiring them. They offer packages anywhere from $10k to $50k to help students pay off their student loans, pay for tools and help them relocate among other things. It helps students get started in their young careers without being saddled with debt.
*Figure is for 2022. Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
While we can’t solve the skilled trades gap by ourselves, Universal Technical Institute is making every effort to help close that gap. We will continue to attract young men and women who truly want to make a difference and pursue their dreams of a STEM career. It is our belief that we are changing the world one life at a time.