PHOENIX – The TechForce Foundation has named Taeler Coverdale, a collision repair student at Universal Technical Institute in Houston, as the grand prize winner in the 2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards.
TechForce created the award to honor aspiring technicians and recognize students with a promising future in the transportation industry.
More than 4,000 TechForce followers voted in this year's awards. Coverdale earned the most votes from among 10 contenders who were all category winners. She was previously named as the Collision Repair Category winner.
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"Role models like Taeler show students that there is a place for them in technician careers," TechForce Executive Director Jennifer Maher said.
"As we all know, young people are so much more likely to pursue a career if they see people like them succeeding in it. Women account for less than 3% of transportation techs, and so welcoming women into the trade is critical to addressing the ongoing technician shortage. TechForce is proud to celebrate Taeler and the new generation of women joining the industry."
As the grand-prize winner, Coverdale will receive a $1,000 TechForce scholarship and $4,000 in prizes from TechForce and sponsors, including Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Cengage Learning, CRC Industries, Mighty Auto Parts, New Ford Tech, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial, Volvo and WD-40.
Each of the 10 category winners have been awarded $1,500 in prizes. They were selected by industry-expert judges from hundreds of high school and post-secondary nominations, representing 182 campuses across 38 states. About 30% of the category winners were women.
The category winners are:
- Automotive — Abbie Vetse, Hennepin Technical College, Maple Grove, Minn.;
- Aviation — Teresa Sacca, Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, Calif.;
- Collision Repair — Coverdale;
- Diesel Off-Road — Nicholas Isaly, Lenawee ISD Tech Center, Adrian, Mich.;
- Diesel On-Road — Andrew Younkin, Western Technical College, El Paso, Texas;
- Marine and Watercraft — Benjamin Pooler, Portland Arts & Technology High School, Buxton, Maine;
- Motorcycle and ATV — Everrett Novak, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, Phoenix;
- Motorsports — Benjamin Delauter, NASCAR Technical Institute, Mooresville, N.C.;
- Restoration — Tyler Renken, Central Carolina Community College, Bunnlevel, N.C.; and
- Welding and CNC — Connor Essary, St. Clair TEC, St. Clair, Mich.
Through the FutureTechs Rock Awards, TechForce and its partners have awarded 50 transportation technician students with over $67,000 in prizes and scholarships since 2019.
The FutureTechs Rock Awards are part of TechForce's workforce development campaign to inspire and support tomorrow's workforce of technicians.
TechForce also created a social network for professional technicians and students to connect with each other, employers and schools.