Two students from Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School will head to Motor City this June to represent Pennsylvania against students from all 50 states in the prestigious 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals.
Matt Hitcho and Austin Kochenash, led by instructor Jeff Cantrel, won the Pennsylvania competition Thursday at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, to earn a spot in the National Finals at Ford Motor Company World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan June 8–10, 2014. There, the duo will compete for millions in scholarship dollars, the opportunity to earn a job shadow experience with Wood Brothers Racing and the possibility of being crowned “America’s Best Student Auto Technicians.”
“Each year, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition brings together the country’s best future automotive technicians,” noted Joseph Fosko, Manager of Automotive Repair Solutions, AAA East Central. “The competition is just one of the ways AAA and Ford demonstrate their commitment to helping students and building awareness of career opportunities in the automotive service industry.”
At the National Finals, Hitcho and Kochenash will have their automotive skills tested with a written exam and timed event. During the competition they will be required to diagnose and repair intentionally installed “bugs” on a Ford vehicle.
The road to the National Finals requires much preparation. To earn their spots, Hitcho and Kochenask needed to successfully complete an online test of their automotive knowledge in January. They then advanced to the Pennsylvania State Finals, where they competed against other pairs of high school students in a hands-on competition similar to the national finals.
Now in its 65th year, the competition has been sponsored by various organizations dedicated to quality auto service. AAA has been a program sponsor for 30 years; Ford joined the partnership 20 years ago.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit organization with 82 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, servicing 2.7 million members.