Two students from Maui High School showed their superior auto technology skills in making timely and accurate car repairs to win the 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills State Competition at Honolulu Community College over the weekend. Maui High has sent a winning state team numerous times over the past decade to the national competition.
AAA Hawaii sponsors the competition with Ford Motor Company as part of its educational efforts to attract more young people to the growing automotive profession.
AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities, the Hawaii NAPA distributor, the local Matco Tools and Ford dealers donated and provided prizes for competitors that, in all, came to thousands of dollars. Mainland technical colleges donated scholarship prizes, too.
Chayce Mimura and Devin Vea will represent the Aloha State and advance to the 2014 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals to be held in Dearborn, Mich., in June. There they will compete against student teams from the 50 states for the national title and nearly $12 million in college scholarships and prizes. Their high school instructor Dennis Sasai will accompany them.
Six high school student teams competed in the state event where they diagnosed and repaired problems in identically “bugged” 2014 Fords. Problems ranged from faulty wiring to malfunctioning electronics, the same issues automotive technicians face on the job daily. The competition winners were determined by the combination of their score in an online qualifying exam and the team’s performance in today’s hands-on competition.
“Chayce and Devin showed a lot of concentration and poise during the competition,” said Avo Asdourian, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills State Competition Chairman from AAA Hawaii. “They worked quickly to find and fix the mechanical and computerized ‘bugs’ planted in their vehicle.”
Advanced technology in automobiles is expected to lead to new opportunities for repair technicians with specialized skills, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. As automobiles continue to increase in computerization and complexity, the industry requires workers who can use specialized equipment and work with electronic components, while still maintaining strong traditional automotive skills with hand tools.