The TechForce Foundation launched "Because I'm a Tech," a promotional campaign. Shown here is...

The TechForce Foundation launched "Because I'm a Tech," a promotional campaign. Shown here is Robert Schonberner, a recipient of a TechForce scholarship that he is using to study automotive tech and restoration this fall.

Photo courtesy TechForce Foundation

The TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit that supports students through their technical education and into careers as professional transportation technicians, launched a promotional campaign, “Because I’m a Tech,” on Monday.

The nonprofit is reaching out to both young students and career changers with a career guide and the campaign (#BecauseImaTech), in which technicians share their stories of successful and secure skilled tech careers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered many preconceived notions about careers and technology, the foundation noted in an article released on Monday. In particular, demand for transportation technicians is surging as the federal government has declared transportation technicians (mechanics) to be essential workers.

However, many people, including students contemplating future options and individuals contemplating career changes, are unaware of the opportunities and the potential for success in transportation technology and repair, according to the nonprofit.

Often underestimated as "blue collar" or "grease monkey" jobs, transportation technicians are in fact high-tech "new collar" jobs that depend on computer skills and fluency with the latest in digital engineering. Transportation technicians are in high demand and critical to maintaining and restoring America's economy during the pandemic and beyond. These skilled workers literally keep America rolling by ensuring that the trucks delivering food, medicine, and other supplies get to their destinations as efficiently as possible, and that emergency responders' vehicles transport them quickly and safely.

In addition, the TechForce Foundation noted, many people are choosing to repair and maintain older vehicles instead of buying new ones, which adds to the demand for skilled transportation technicians.

Recent surveys show an increased interest in transportation technology work, both among younger students and career changers whose jobs may have been lost or furloughed because of the pandemic, according to the nonprofit. Surveys of high school students show that more than half are open to something other than a four-year degree, and 70% want to follow their own educational path.

"Despite record rates of unemployment, there continues to be strong demand for our graduates," said Jerome Grant, CEO of the Universal Technical Institute. "Employers need skilled technicians to fill essential jobs and, as many in our nation look for new paths to prosperity, we're seeing growing interest in our programs and in technical careers."

Transportation technology appeals to hands-on learners with an interest in and enthusiasm for the state-of-the art engineering, according to the nonprofit.

"A NASA space shuttle has approximately 400 thousand lines of code, but a modern car has approximately 100 million lines of code," said Mike Pressendo, chief marketing and strategy officer of the TechForce Foundation. "These are skilled, well-paying, technical jobs."