CHARLEROI, PA (03.31.22) – Many people know the SEMA acronym for the amazing automotive aftermarket trade show that occurs every November in Las Vegas – The SEMA Show. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is much more than a show; the organization is a far-reaching trade association that has many other facets benefiting the overall automotive aftermarket industry.
One such endeavor is a SEMA Education initiative called the High School Vehicle Build (HSVB) program. High school automotive programs across the US are able to apply for consideration and, if accepted, SEMA furnishes them a vehicle to build along with connecting them to member companies for sponsorship and local retailers plus mentor resources to further the automotive aftermarket immersion as a career path.
The HSVB program is currently in its third season and has ten vehicle builds at high schools across the US in progress; 5 Jeep Wrangler TJs and 5 3rd-gen Toyota 4Runners.
Veteran automotive consultant Todd Ramsey of Ramsey Consulting Group. Inc. is currently contracted by SEMA to manage the program. “It’s truly an honor to be entrusted with the program’s day-to-day process” commented Ramsey, who recently traveled to one of the schools for an in-person visit and tour.
Ramsey’s Thursday March 24th visit to Mon Valley Career and Technical Center (CTC) in Charleroi PA was part of the engagement in linking the industry to local resources. He along with Pittsburgh area retailer Ed Nuttall, from Team Nutz Technology, visited the school to talk about long-term career opportunities in the industry, as well as checking out what Mon Valley’s Automotive Instructor Chris Mance has going on with the students, the program and their 2002 Jeep Wrangler build process.
Beginning the day Ramsey and Nuttall had an orientation meeting with Automotive Instructor Mance before touring the facility and shop area. Next, was time spent with the students. The work on the Jeep build was very impressive as they saw first hand the level of detail the students achieved. Then Ramsey and Nuttall spoke to the students about career paths in the automotive aftermarket industry and answered questions from the students that were very engaged during the meeting. Following the meeting students enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch that Ramsey arranged.
Team Nutz Technology is a very proactive 12volt retailer in the Pittsburg area that is also involved in other aftermarket aspects including vinyl wraps, automotive clearing supplies and marine audio. Team Nutz occupies 2 additional shops to complete installation and custom work. The company is also a large exhibitor at major consumer events at major downtown venues. The recent Pittsburg AutoRama is just one example. At that event several Mon Valley CTC students visited the Team Nutz 7000 square foot booth filled with displays and demo vehicles.
“Like so many companies across the 12volt industry we are looking for qualified employees and those with technical skills. Meeting with the students at Mon Valley CTC may lead to some future employees with our company. It was tremendous to meet with Chris Nance and the students. The SEMA High School Build initiative will contribute to the future of growth in the aftermarket automotive industry in many ways” Nuttall related.
Mance stated “To have Todd Ramsey travel to our school to witness the SEMA High School Build in action was truly an honor. To have a key area 12volt retailer along really added a lot to seeing the entire concept becoming a reality. We will work diligently in future years to prepare Mon Valley CTC students for career futures in the automotive aftermarket industry.”
“Overall we were so pleased to see the level of engagement Chris has with his students and that each of them are exposed to so many facets of the automotive career path over their three-year vocational training” said Ramsey of the Mon Valley CTC program.
As part of the final step in each season, the vehicles sell on an online auction site called Bring A Trailer where the proceeds go back into the program to fund the next season’s builds. To date, nearly $250,000 has been self-funded to fuel this program and it’s just in its infancy. SEMA is passionate about reaching potential career-minded folks at the high school level with this program and is actively seeking interested companies, both at the manufacturer level and local level retailers/employers/mentors to engage with the high school automotive programs participating in the HSVB program. There is a whole new generation of automotive enthusiasts out there that crave the exposure and engagement of the automotive aftermarket this HSVB program brings.
There is a SEMA High School Build application process each year and the 2023 school year has not been announced.