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When it comes to picking a trade school, Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Orlando, Florida, is certainly a destination
campus. It’s the only UTI campus that teaches program courses for automotive, diesel, motorcycle and
marine technicians. Opportunities are abundant in Orlando and surrounding cities — making it a great place for those who like to play as hard as they work.
According to Facilities Director Tony Schimka, “Knowing that UTI Orlando is just seven miles from Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and an hour away from the beaches — that makes it an easy choice.”
No matter where you want to end up, UTI Orlando is a great place to start. Jump-start your career
with top-tier technical training1 in a city where employment and enjoyment are booming.
Orlando is the only city that is home to three UTI schools:
According to Director of Operations and Education Wayne Lehnert, this school is for enthusiasts. Whether you have a passion for cars, motorcycles or boats, there is plenty to work on at UTI Orlando. The campus has strong relationships with original equipment manufacturers — meaning students have opportunities to train with state-of-the-industry tools and technology.
The endless summer weather in Florida makes it possible to enjoy motor-driven passions year-round. Luxury vehicles and motorcycles cruise the streets, while boats and watercraft race along the shorelines.
“Anywhere else, if you have a boat, then that’s a six-month hobby. Riding motorcycles is an eight-month hobby. But it’s year-round summer here, so marine and motorcycle technicians get plenty of work because people can pursue those hobbies all year long,” Schimka says.
UTI Orlando has a long history with the local automotive, motorcycle and marine dealerships. Many UTI graduates begin their careers as dealership technicians.5 Because Orlando is central to so many industries, UTI graduates can access a variety of unique, long-term employment opportunities.
“In our immediate area, there is a significant amount of farming, so heavy-equipment repair is huge. North and south of Orlando, there are opportunities to work on farming equipment. On the coast, we have marine technicians working on million-dollar yachts, charter boats, going all the way up to oversea freight haulers,” Schimka says.
What sets UTI Orlando apart from the rest is the amount of programs, tools and training equipment available. It’s an ideal place for those who know they want to pursue a career as a technician, but are still deciding in which field to specialize.
“We have Motorcycle and Marine being taught on our campus. We also have three manufacturer-specific programs being taught in our Automotive Technology program. From a curriculum point of view, that’s a huge advantage, because students will finish one program and jump right from Marine to Motorcycle, or Automotive to Diesel,” Schimka says.
Although students and instructors are divided in their interests, there is a strong sense of unity among everyone at UTI Orlando.
“We get together with all the programs a couple times a year, and it’s really neat because whether you’re working on something that runs on the water, runs on two wheels or a big diesel truck, they all function on the same basic principles. It’s a fun place to be,” Schimka says.
UTI Orlando may be fun and exciting, but it’s anything but easy.
Many students have to balance working, studying, living in a new place, building a network and preparing for a career all at the same time. It can take a mental and emotional toll on those who don’t have a support system in place.
Schimka knows their struggles. He experienced the same thing while studying at UTI in 1990. He understands how important it is that students are mentally healthy and emotionally supported so that they can be successful in class and in life.
“I am living proof that UTI works. I had a very successful career straight out of school.6 It really helps me share with the students. If I have a student that’s doubting their career path, I can share personal experience. I sat in their seat. I know what it’s like to juggle work, home life and school life. I’m very familiar with that. It’s easier to make a connection with students and help them,” Schimka says.
Schimka says UTI Orlando instructors make sure that every student has the support they need, and that they know where to get help when they need it.
“Our instructors have immense knowledge of the industry, and they also have enormous hearts. They quickly get in-tune with the students, and they can always tell when something’s wrong and a student needs help,” Schimka says.
“We have so many great support departments, from counseling to a food pantry. Instructors will extend assistance to students they notice are having personal struggles, and they almost always accept the help,” he continues.
During his time as a Diesel course instructor, Schimka noticed that the light in one of his star students had begun to diminish. Since his first day of class, this student had always been on-time and enthusiastic, but for two days in a row, he was tired and weak.
Schimka noticed the change on the first day, and made a point to speak to him privately after class.
“Turns out, his job had changed hours so he wasn’t getting the hours he needed to support himself. To pay rent, he couldn’t afford food. He admitted he hadn’t eaten in two days. I took him down to the food pantry, and we loaded him up with a couple weeks’ worth of food and gas cards to help him get to and from work.
“He was a grown man, but there were tears in his eyes,” Schimka recalls. “Shortly after that, he found another job that worked better with his school hours and he was bright and happy all the way up to graduation.”
For anyone doubting their career path or deciding on enrolling at UTI, Schimka shares two points of advice that worked for him throughout his career and have benefited the students he has worked with over the years.
“First, pick a career that you love. If it’s something you love, you’ll be great at it and the money will come to you,” he shares.
“Second, come and visit a campus. All the flyers, all the commercials on TV, none of that represents the true quality at every single UTI campus. I’ve been to them all, and I know that the same fantastic environment exists at all of them. Come out and see it, because once you see what we have available, it’s going to be really hard to say no.”
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
5) UTI programs prepare graduates for careers in industries using the provided training, primarily as automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a technician, such as: parts associate, service writer, fabricator, paint and paint prep, and shop owner/operator. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
6) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.