Valley Technical Academy, offering immersive, 12-week courses in web development and cybersecurity, has partnered with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the championship-winning NASCAR team.
The Mission, Texas-based school prepares individuals for a career in technology, and Valley Technical Academy has chosen NASCAR and, specifically, the No. 10 team of SHR and driver Aric Almirola, to showcase its curriculum within a technology-driven industry. Valley Technical Academy will be the primary sponsor for Almirola and the No. 10 team for two races in 2019, with associate sponsorship beginning with this weekend’s Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
"There are two-and-a-half million jobs available in the technology market and we’re training people to fill those jobs," said Jim Smith, Program Director, Valley Technical Academy. "Our mission is to become a major influencer of employment in the tech industry, and NASCAR and Stewart-Haas Racing provide a strong and specific platform to covey this message. We’re connecting high potential individuals with high potential careers and educating them and training them on how to perform in those careers. There is no better way to communicate this initiative than in a performance industry as strong and established as NASCAR, with a driver in Aric Almirola who has seized the opportunity provided to him."
Almirola is enjoying a career year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The 34-year-old from Tampa, Florida, is in his first season with SHR after spending the previous 10 seasons with other teams. Almirola has taken full advantage of his new home, scoring 12 top-10 finishes to position himself solidly in the NASCAR Playoffs. His top-10 tally is the highest it has ever been in a single year, and his 116 laps led is also a season high. And with eight races still remaining, Almirola can continue to add to these numbers.
"We’ve had a really good year and we’ve had fast racecars. The only thing that’s missing is just a trip to victory lane," Almirola said. "We’ve run up front and we’ve led races and we’ve been in contention – we just need to pull an entire race together. It’s these kinds of collective performances that have made the No. 10 team a strong platform for Valley Technical Academy. They’re growing and achieving just like us. It’s a true partnership."
Almirola has always valued the importance of an education, even as he worked his way toward the pinnacle of North American motorsports. As Almirola graduated from competing in the World Karting Association to open-wheel modifieds and then late model stock cars, he attended the University of Central Florida (UCF), where he studied for a degree in mechanical engineering. But after two years at UCF, Almirola earned an opportunity with Joe Gibbs Racing that ultimately led him to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
"My parents and grandparents instilled in me the value of an education," Almirola said. "In order to go racing, I had to perform in school, and that included college. I continue to use what I learned in high school and at UCF to this day. Racing is a detail industry where knowledge is power. I can’t thank all of my teachers and professors enough. Between them and my family, they gave me the tools to succeed."
The vision of Valley Technical Academy is to become an organization with the largest training, development and promotion of skilled individuals that includes placement into high-growth careers locally and nationally. Enter NASCAR and SHR, where the coast-to-coast racing series that features all of its events on television via broadcast partners FOX and NBC can showcase the three pillars of Valley Technical Academy – train, develop and promote.
Train:Provide an immersive learning environment working on real projects, preparing students with the necessary skills needed to start a productive career.
Develop:Create positive mindsets by providing training environments for career alternatives that allow individuals to overcome negative circumstances and attitudes.
Promote:Connect students with corporations where they learn by doing real work, guaranteeing them job placement upon graduating.
"Valley Technical Academy has created a dynamic curriculum specific to a burgeoning aspect of the tech industry where skilled and motivated workers are coveted," said Mike Verlander, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, SHR. "It’s a story that needs to be told and we’re obviously very proud to partner with Valley Technical Academy and communicate its mission to our industry and our fans."