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Opportunities abound in Universal Technical Training

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —  Each year for the past 30 years, students of American Samoa have been offered a unique opportunity to follow a career path, which they may have never otherwise considered. Visiting the Territory to present these career options was Tony Tagal, and years later, his son Jason.

As they have done since the late 1980s, father and son (who often visited together) have presented to students and their parents several possibilities for training in some very in-demand careers.

Representing the Universal Technical Institute—or UTI —Jason Tagal made the latest trip to American Samoa this October. For the past week and continuing through yesterday,  Oct 15,  students and their parents had a chance to consider solid careers in the Automotive industry, as well as Diesel and Power generation, Collision Repair, Transport Refrigeration, Hydraulics, as wells as Motorcycle, Marine and NASCAR work, Welding, and CNC Machining.

It should be noted that CNC—or Computerized Numerical Control  machining— is a method used to perform a wide range of manufacturing tasks, which are all carried out by computerized devices.

With the help of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Machining (CAM) in the late 1970s, CNC machines replaced the old-school manual machines.

This is a progressive step into the future of automotive care and maintenance, said Jason. As the major auto manufacturers move forward—with hybrid, electric and even driverless cars— CNC machining and diagnostic tools will become more important than ever as a career path.

As a testament both to their recruiting efforts, and the calibre of students from the Territory, there have been many successful American Samoan UTI grads over the years. 

Some have returned to work for ASPA, others found work in the States and around the world.

Jason Tagal told Samoa News, “These jobs are very much in demand around the globe. The sky is the limit for the young man or woman who likes the hands-on approach to learning.”

He added, “These are not just jobs, they are careers which have the potential for lifelong financial stability.”

During his latest visit, Jason addressed parents and educators saying, “I am very proud to have been able to meet with all of you over the years. I’m also very thankful for the privilege to meet with your students.  I’m looking forward to helping them find personal success and financial stability through some very stable technical career paths.”

UTI— whose headquarters are in Arizona - boasts programs which are relatively short; most are 9 to18 months, and can be completed with counseling and tutoring from helpful instructors on campus. This is hands-on technical training, there are no regular academic classes included, said Jason.

“Additionally, there is no SAT or ASVAB test required. However, if it is your desire to take a military path, the Associates Degree that you receive from UTI in Arizona will help you start out in the military with a higher rank.”

“This is an opportunity for young students to leave home, build up their self confidence, maturity and independence, while beginning a career which can take them nearly anywhere in the world.  Welders, Diesel mechanics and machinists find careers all over the mainland, including in the Alaskan Oil fields and with Alaskan diesel powered fisheries, with much higher pay than cannery workers,” he said, adding that the ASPA power plant in Tafuna has many UTI grads working there.

What about the cost of tuition? Jason says US Federal Financial Aid can help to fund tuition for US Nationals and US Citizens, while Relocation Grants and other scholarships are also available to help with relocation costs.

“I personally fly to Arizona with my Pacific Islanders from American Samoa, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan every summer to help them move into their apartments and get off to a good start at UTI,” Jason said.

“Furthermore, industry relationships give our students access to state-of-the-industry tools and technology that technicians are using in the field today. Those same relationships provide our students with access to the companies hiring for entry-level positions in the automotive, diesel, motorcycle, marine, collision, CNC machining and welding industries.”

UTI works with companies in the auto industry such as BMW, Ford, General Motors, Infiniti, Nissan, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volvo, to provide manufacturer-specific training. There is also specialized training in Diesel machinery with companies such as Daimler and Peterbilt. Specialized training in the Marine and Motorcycle industries include working with Mercury, Suzuki, Yamaha and Harley Davidson, to name a few.

Finally, UTI offers lifetime job placement assistance for all graduates.

Jason told Samoa News yesterday, “These kids have a lot of courage to leave their villages, their island, and go out into the world. They don’t realize, yet, that taking this opportunity will change the direction of their lives forever. Once they learn how to do something like weld or use diagnostic machinery, they have a skill that can provide a lifetime of stability for them and their families.”

He added, “I’m always inspired by these teenagers, they have no fear (no fefe!) They want to try.”

Jason departed the Territory on Monday night, but he can be reached at any time at 808-342-2037.  More information on UTI can be found on their website: