Things were revving at the Automotive Technology Building on Clark’s main campus on Feb. 4, as more than 40 high school seniors vied to win the annual Future Tech 2010 automotive-service competition.
The event, sponsored by the Metro Portland New Car Dealers Association (MPNCDA), puts contestants through a rigorous, day-long series of tests of their automotive know-how. Schools from as far away as Florence, Ore., sent their top three automotive students to compete in the annual event.
In the next 10 years, jobs for trained automotive service technicians and mechanics are expected to increase by 5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And today’s cars aren’t like those old 1960s Volkswagens a novice could pull apart and rebuild in a day.
That’s why Future Tech, which Clark has been hosting for more than a decade, tests students on such varied aspects of auto technology as troubleshooting a car’s electrical system, diagnosing another sample car’s suspension and steering, and checking for leaks. At one point, contestants had to sit at a table strewn with unlabeled auto parts and identify each by turn. There was also a written test.
In the end, the two top scorers from a single school—Jalen Kohen and Jordan Grittman of Hillsboro High—won a free trip to New York City for themselves and their instructor, Glen Campbell, to attend the National Automotive Technology Competition on April 6-7.