SEMA Finds New Way to Engage the Youth

SEMA has launched a new program designed to support and engage high school students in the automotive hobby. As part of the pilot program, high school students will oversee and execute an entire project vehicle, including tracking time, expenses and associated resources, using a used vehicle purchased and donated by SEMA.

The project will create a self-sustaining program with the completed vehicle sold to raise money for the purchase of another vehicle that can be used for a similar project the following school year, according to SEMA.

SEMA’s goal is to be able to replicate the program at high schools throughout the country.

“Our hope is that the one-time purchase and vehicle donation will initiate an on-going program at the school and allow hundreds of students to participate over the years,” said Wade Kawasaki, chairman of the SEMA Board of Directors. “We are optimistic and excited about this program and look forward to seeing what the students accomplish.”

The pilot program began last month with the delivery of a 2015 4WD Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to students at the Santa Fe Early College Opportunities (ECO) Auto Shop Program in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students have begun with identifying priorities and creating a plan for the project, which will be sold by the end of the school year in May 2018.

“The Santa Fe ECO is dedicated to training and preparing students for careers in the automotive industry,” said Chris Coriz, Auto Collision Technology instructor. “Having an actual vehicle to work on is incredibly valuable. We’re excited and appreciative to SEMA for supporting our program.”

SEMA is helping to secure parts donations and volunteers to serve as mentors to the students. Those interested in supporting the project or for more details can contact SEMA Senior Education Director Zane Clark at

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