Top Student Auto Technicians Travel To Ford Headquarters To Compete For Scholarships, Prizes, And Ultimate Bragging Rights

Orlando, Fla. – 6/24/2004

For the first time in many years, the best high school automotive technicians from each state will travel to the heartland of the American automobile industry for the National Finals of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, to be held June 29 in Dearborn, Michigan, home of co-sponsor Ford Motor Company.

“The students participating in this contest from all 50 states are the most talented young automotive professionals in the country,” said James Dunst, Auto Skills contest manager. “No matter where they place in the National Finals, the scholarships the competition provides every team will help them continue their education.”

The Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition draws more than 6,000 students nationwide. More than 50 new Ford vehicles will be deliberately and identically bugged and lined up for this hands-on test of high-tech auto repair.

“Careers in automotive service have never been more attractive than they are now,” said Steve DeAngelis, Manager of Ford Motor Company’s Technical Support Operations. “Ford and its dealer network are offering these contestants unparalleled opportunities to train for high-tech careers in a well-compensated field.”

“Ford uses this event to attract the best young technicians to its training programs and careers within our dealer network,” DeAngelis said.

Students participating in the national finals have been offered scholarship money toward their choice of Ford training programs — ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) or FACT (Ford Accelerated Credential Training). Both programs offer participants the opportunity to earn Ford credentials while participating in training that will prepare them for a solid career.

At a time when employment opportunities are limited in some professions, there is an estimated shortage of 60,000 trained service and repair technicians, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry size is expected to increase ten to twenty percent through the year 2010.

“Skilled, trained automotive technicians who are up-to-date with the latest technologies are becoming scarce resources,” said John Nielsen, Director-AAA Approved Auto Repair Network. “With this program, AAA and Ford hope to fill that need and make certain car owners will always be able to get prompt and reliable service.”

Contest activities begin at 7:45 a.m., with the competition beginning at 9:15 a.m. and concluding at 10:45 a.m. The winners will be announced at approximately 11:30 a.m.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 327,000 employees worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit and Hertz. Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary June 16, 2003.

For more information about the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition, please visit the website at www.autoskills.com.

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