SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — "Changing Gears," a new documentary meant to expose young people to the transportation industry and its promising career paths, will begin broadcasting on public television in various markets this month.
The film is part of Roadtrip Nation's career exploration documentary series.
"Changing Gears" follows three aspiring automotive and diesel technicians on a 1,000-mile road trip as they interview industry legends and get a glimpse into the ins and outs of the automotive and diesel technician trade.
The project is sponsored by the Universal Technical Institute (UTI), TechForce Foundation and KQED.
"This film truly busts the myths and misperceptions that can steer students away from technical education and transportation technician jobs, and has the power to shift how millions of students, parents and educators think about this rewarding, high-tech career," said Kim McWaters, UTI president and CEO.
"UTI is intently focused on building our student population to meet the industry's growing demand for trained technicians and 'Changing Gears' supports this work."
During the documentary, the road-trippers meet automotive and diesel industry leaders who've made it big by following their passion, including: Roger Penske, founder and chairman of the Penske Corp.; Sarah "Bogi" Lateiner, UTI graduate and host of the Velocity television series "All Girls Garage"; and Dennis McCarthy, picture car coordinator for the "Fast & Furious" movie franchise. Their conversations shed light on the most positive aspects of the transportation industry, according to the sponsors.
"At Roadtrip Nation, our goal is to empower people to define their own roads in life," said Mike Marriner, co-founder of Roadtrip Nation. "This film showcases real stories of leaders and change-makers who have carved their own pathways as technicians, while also highlighting technological advances in the industry, challenging stereotypical notions and stigmas of the trade, and looking at career opportunities in the field."
The pace of technological change, coupled with the technician shortage already facing transportation employers, has led to fear that the number of students entering training programs will be insufficient to meet the future demand of this growing industry, according to the sponsors.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently tripled its estimate for the number of new automotive, diesel and collision repair technicians needed in the coming decade. About 1.2 million new technicians will be needed nationwide by 2026 to meet industry needs, according to the BLS.
"All of us at TechForce Foundation are proud to be a part of this project," said Jennifer Maher, TechForce executive director. "Our goal is to help students get the resources they need to pursue their dreams, and this film offers compelling examples of what's possible for technicians with a good education and industry-aligned skills."
To watch the film or to find air times for public television broadcasts, visit changinggearsfilm.com.