LIMA – While most colleges have a football team, UNOH has a fleet of its own racing teams and operates its own “NASCAR Home Track.” Say what?
What a “cool college.” They call it UNOH. That’s short for the University of Northwestern Ohio, home to more than 4,500 students in Lima Ohio. But there’s no “short-cuts” or “coming up short” at this institution. It’s truly the best of the best and is actually ranked number one for Best Automotive Technology Colleges in America by the website Universities.com and “Best Auto Mechanic Schools in the USA” by the website, “TheBestSchools.org.”
If you like cars and racing then you will like this place. If you want to get a college degree and a great high paying career in the automotive field then you will really love this place.
Automotive careers are super hot right now for highly-skilled, well-trained and educated automotive technicians. Their pay is very hot, too. A recent look into the employment want-ads shows auto mechanic jobs paying in the 50’s, 60,s 70’s and even $80,000 plus a year at some dealerships in major Ohio cities such as Dayton and Columbus. Automotive supervisors and managers can make even more.
According to industry experts, there currently is a huge void of qualified automotive technicians through the nation. Cars are becoming more complicated to repair and more computerized. There are simply not enough trained auto technicians nor enough schools to train them fast enough to fill the demand.
This double-edged shortage is driving up demand and wages for these positions very fast and making it a great field of study to enter for people who like cars and working on them. Accordingly to the National Automotive Dealerships Association, $18.9 billion was spent on labor charges in dealership service departments last year. A well trained auto technician with about 5 years of experience can make as much as a $100,000 a year in today’s market.
Do what you love
A lot of high school graduates are moving on to college these days and studying the typical social sciences, business, health sciences and many other general areas of studies these days. And that generalized pathway of study does work for many students, but if you love cars and have a passion for working on cars and thought you couldn’t get a four-year degree or two-year degree or diploma in what you love and also get a great job, then you may want to think twice.
UNOH graduates are so sought after, that top employers like GM, Honda even NASCAR teams are literally waiting in line to hire them upon graduation.
Don’t get me wrong, though, this is not some type of fantasy race car school where you pay your money and become a make-believe race car driver or pit crew mechanic in a week.
This is a highly-accredited academic university in west central Ohio that is respected worldwide for its Applied Automotive Technology programs, degrees and diplomas offered, including Degrees in High Performance Motorsports Technology, Automotive Technology, Diesel Technology, a Bachelors of Science Degree in Automotive Technology Supervision and even an MBA Degree.
In fact, just Google best Automotive schools in the United States and this place always pops up number one hands down, in the U.S. and even the world.
Pegged “RacecarU” many years ago in a national magazine by famous NASCAR and racing journalist Bill Holder of Dayton Ohio, students from all 50 states and 61 foreign countries from all over the world have attended UNOH.
“I love it here,” said Roy Outcalt of Dayton, who transferred from Wright State University and is in the High Performance Motorsports Technology Program at UNOH. “I never thought college could be like this. It’s actually great because I’m studying what I like and I’m being educated and trained at the best university in the world for this kind of stuff.”
“The benefits for our students here in our technical programs in getting their Associate or Baccalaureate Degree is their ability to move up and advance in a company into management and so forth in a lot shorter time frame,” said Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis, the president of UNOH. “By having that advanced degree they can move ahead faster,” adds Jarvis.
Some universities may have their own football stadium and football team but UNOH actually owns and operates its own “NASCAR Home Track,” called Limaland Motorsports Park – with its own university student racing teams that compete on the national circuits including NHRA, IHRA and UMP stock car modified classes.
On campus, the world-class amenities and facilities are abundant, including: a skid track, a dragstrip style launch pad, an auto cross course, a Mustang Dyno, student tractor pulls, race cars, dragsters, a huge fleet of over 90 training-aid vehicles, a “Racer Station” gathering/recreation center for live concerts, dances, parties, pool-room, and much, much more.
In 1992, UNOH started the first high performance motorsports program in the country and their High Performance Motorsport Complex is the only one of its kind in the world. The 7-acre cutting edge high-tech complex is considered a shrine to horsepower. It literally has it all, and is highly-respected worldwide and by all NASCAR teams and all racing entities throughout the entire world.
Car lover’s smorgasbord
And, when it comes to student clubs at UNOH, it’s a car lover’s smorgasbord with clubs such as Off-Road Club, Drag Club, Diesel Club, Auto-Cross Club, Race Club, Over-the-Wall Club (pit crews) and the Motorsports Team – which is actually one of the UNOH’s collegiate athletic teams.
How many college campuses have stuff like this, including a Jeep off-road mountain course right on campus? Let me repeat that: A man-made off-road 4×4 mountain test course right on campus. Is this place for real? Yes, this place has it all.
It’s not all about cars though. It’s a true college campus experience for all students at UNOH. The 200-acre campus has state-of-the-art facilities, over 60 different academic degree programs ranging from accounting, marketing, business administration and agribusiness, to digital forensics, system administration, medical office management, and health information technology in addition to all of the automotive and high performance programs.
The university also boasts 14 collegiate athletic teams, many diverse student clubs, a new student center, Barnes & Noble campus bookstore, Starbucks, apartment-style dorms, and a beautiful indoor athletic complex.
All this may sound too good to be true or too good to afford, you might think?
But actually, UNOH, which is a private, not-for-profit university, is one of the most affordable private universities in the state of Ohio with tuition rates comparable to many if not most Ohio public universities. Additionally, it does not charge out-of-state tuition fees, which is rare for a university.
Founded in 1920, in 2020 UNOH will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
College doesn’t have to be boring, unpleasant, and a confusing path, like it was for many of us. You can learn what you love and love learning at this place.
Just ask the students at UNOH; they’re definitely on the “right track,” so to speak.
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.