West-MEC Automotive Technology Program Hosts Skills Competition

NFT News February 01 2023
Image: West-MEC Automotive Technology students work on an engine in the Automotive Lab (PC: West-MEC

Phoenix, Ariz. (Feb. 1, 2023) – The West-MEC Automotive Technology Program is set to host a student skills competition on Saturday, March 4th at Northeast Campus, located at 1617 W. Williams Drive. This full day event tests students’ technical and professional skills throughout several different categories.

With this year marking the competition’s third year anniversary it is safe to say that it is one to attend. West-MEC began this competition with the help of Cesar Martinez, a Ford Technical Placement Specialist, and Randy Golding, a West-MEC Automotive Instructor back in 2021 amid the COVID nation-wide pandemic. At the time, the original skills competition that West-MEC students were hoping to attend was cancelled. Thus, Martinez and Golding, both determined to not let COVID further affect these students automotive program experience, got together and started West-MEC’s first Auto Tech Challenge.

“During these uncharted times we wanted to make sure there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It was a chance for us to be heroes.”

– Ford Technical Placement Specialist, Cesar Martinez

The all-day skills competition is made possible through industry sponsorships totaling over $20,000. Sanderson Ford and Peoria Ford are among nearly two-dozen industry partners that came together to donate funding for prizes, food, creating skill stations, and volunteering. Representatives from Ford Motor Company, TechForce Foundation, and other industry names will be in attendance to support the student competitors and scout up-and-coming talent for employment.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for employers to engage with skilled and dedicated students who will be ready to enter the workforce in
just a few months. Historically, when our students complete the Automotive Technology program and are ready to start working, they
seek out employers that they have seen invest time and energy into supporting their development.”

– Automotive Technology Instructor, Randy Golding

West-MEC, an Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) school, will have about 100 ACE students participating in this year’s skills challenge, a good increase from last year’s 80 number. Each participant is eager to impress attending dealers like Sanderson Ford who hired last year’s first and third place winners after witnessing their automotive skills first hand. Moreover, both students are now attending their first year of Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET) at Glendale Community College and are a prime example of what it means to go from ACE to ASSET, an initiative that New Ford Tech promotes.

Competing students will demonstrate the skills they have learned throughout the past year as they compete against each other and showcase their hands-on application. Among the top prizes is a MATCO Tool Cart complete with tools, setting up the winner for a successful start as a technician. TechForce Foundation and New Ford Tech will be passing out goodies and merch, that include T-shirts and lunchboxes.

Event Details: West-MEC Auto Tech Challenge, Skills Competition
Date: Saturday, March 4, 2023
Time: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM (awards ceremony at 4:30 PM)
Location: West-MEC Northeast Campus, Automotive Building
1617 W. Williams Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85027

The Automotive Technology program at West-MEC teaches students all aspects of automotive repair and maintenance including engine performance, engine repair, brakes, steering, suspension and alignment, and electrical systems. Apart from the core-curriculum, learners are trained for the job-seeking process through guest speakers and resume building workshops. Ford’s very own Cesar Martinez will be overseeing the resume and interview workshop at this year’s skills competition. During the two-year program, accommodations and modifications are provided to high school students based on the IEP/504. Furthermore, students have an option to receive college credit for the classes they take. For example, some ACE credits are transferable to community colleges or universities and can help ACE students transition into New Ford Tech’s premiere ASSET program.

West-MEC programs prepare students to seek one or more industry certification or licensure in their field of study. Through the automotive training and certification, students are provided a pathway to economic independence.

West-MEC will host another skills competition on April 1st, 2023. Details to come.

Click here to view last year’s skills competition.


New Ford Tech is a system of educational programs, outreach initiatives and resources designed to build and support a career as a professional service technician. Both ACE and ASSET fall under the New Ford Tech umbrella and aim to guide students into an automotive career.

Automotive Career Exploration (ACE) is a partnership program between Ford Motor Company, Ford / Lincoln dealerships, and secondary and post-secondary educational institutions. The intent of the program is to raise awareness and increase interest in career opportunities within the automotive industry, ultimately as a service technician. ACE students earn Ford eLearning course credit that can be transferred into their ASSET student profile.

Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET) is the alliance between Ford Motor Company, Ford and Lincoln dealers, community colleges and technical schools to support a career as a professional service technician. Students alternate for six to eight weeks in the classroom and six to eight weeks with their sponsoring Ford or Lincoln dealer over a two-year period. At the end of the two years, they earn an Associate’s and valuable in-dealer experience.

NFL Recruitment