The SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program uniquely connects high school automotive shop classes with specialty-equipment manufacturers' products to build one-of-a-kind customized vehicles. Funded by SEMA, this program offers students real-world, hands-on auto-tech skills while becoming engaged in the accessorization and customization lifestyle.

This accessorization project focuses on suspension, wheels and tires, and interior and exterior accessories. With the guidance and instruction of their auto-shop instructors, students customize the vehicles using donated aftermarket products from partnering sponsor companies. After the vehicles are transformed by the students' hands, they will be sold at the end of the school year. Proceeds from the sale will fund the purchase of another vehicle to support a build in the following school year—making this a self-sustaining program. It's SEMA's vision that the expansion of this program will reach thousands of high school automotive shop class students nationwide.


a. SEMA will continue its partnership with the 10 high school auto shop programs into the 2021-2022 school year, as they were affected by COVID-19 mandated school closures. The 10 builds that began in January 2020 will be completed in the late Spring 2022 and auctioned through program partner, Bring a Trailer, starting in early Summer 2022. Students will resume their customization work on their Jeep Wrangler TJs or 3rd Gen Toyota 4Runners utilizing aftermarket products donated by sponsoring companies when they return to school.

Click on each school below to follow the progress of their builds.

Since 1976 Career Center High School has served as an extension of the traditional high school programs offered in the local area. Students maintain their affiliation with their home high schools while completing Career Center courses. Career Center offers a challenging academic environment and unique learning opportunities where students may choose to participate in Advanced Placement, Career Technical, Regular Curriculum and some specialty courses.

The Automotive Technology Department at Career Center offers a two-year program that can be completed over 4 semesters which includes: Introduction to Automotive Service, Automotive Service I, Automotive Service II, and Automotive Service III. The program is comprised of service and safety, engine repair, automatic transmission and transaxles, manual drivetrain and axles, suspension and steering, HVAC, and engine performance. This includes advanced knowledge and skills in vehicle system repair and replacement of components in the brake, electrical systems, drivetrain, engine, HVAC, and the steering and suspension system.

While in the automotive technology program, students learn advanced automotive skills in vehicle servicing, testing, repair, and diagnosis of brakes, electrical systems, drivetrain, engine, HVAC and steering and suspension systems with an emphasizes in hands-on experience. Career Center High School is ASE Education Foundation Accredited (NATEF) in Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR). The program is comprised of four instructors and a diverse selection of 150 to 200+ students per year. Anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of the students go on to work in the Automotive Industry.

The Comstock Automotive Technology program is a 2.5-year class held at Comstock High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The program consists of three courses and teaches ASE Education Foundation standards to instill skills such as fundamentals of automotive service; maintenance; and repair, including engine repair, fuel systems, electrical, electronics, steering, suspension and braking systems.

The auto shop program is part of an education consortium called Education for Employment (EFE) where they are able to invite students from other local high schools into their program. There are typically 90-100 students from grades 9-12 each year who participate in the auto tech program.

Comstock High School students will be building a 1997 Toyota 4Runner as part of the 2020-2021 SEMA High School Vehicle Build. The Jeep will be sold at the end of the school year and proceeds will go towards funding another vehicle build for the school.

Automotive Technology at John Hersey High School is an ASE Education Foundation Certified program that provides training to over 125 students annually in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Students learn everything from basic automotive knowledge to advanced diagnostics throughout the 4 years offered at Hersey, typically culminating in a large fabrication and customization build.

Preparing students for their next stage in life is the program's goal, whether that means going into the industry or being an informed automotive consumer/hobbyist. Students have the opportunity to earn over 10 industry certifications before graduation as well as dual credit in Automotive Technology though a local community college.

The McGavock High School Automotive Diesel program is a nationally certified, three-year program that actively prepares students for the high stakes automotive field in both post-secondary education and the work force. As the only auto diesel program in the state of Tennessee and an integral part of the school's Academy of Aviation and Transportation and as Metro Nashville Public Schools' reigning Academy of the Year, the program provides students in grades 10 through 12 with a strong foundation in the repair, maintenance, and customization of a wide variety of automobiles.

Students in McGavock's Auto Diesel program have received numerous scholarships and admittance into prestigious programs, including Wirtgen America's R-BEST training program, and formed an engine building team as well. The program combines classroom instruction with hands-on training to provide our students with the knowledge and skills to achieve great success in the automotive field.

Automotive Technology at Mon Valley Career and Technology Center provides students with a comprehensive, 3-year program designed to prepare students to confidently enter the automotive industry. Faculty and staff strives to exceed the needs and expectations of the industry by teaching core skills and techniques along with the soft skills needed to excel in the automotive setting.

Students have the opportunity to earn over 15 industry certifications and work in live a shop through the cooperative education program. Engineering and creativity is promoted through the school's Wolfpack Customs program where students from many programs can participate in automobile performance and customization to create amazing vehicles.

The Omaha Public Schools (OPS) Career Center Automotive Program is a three-year automotive technology program with two ASE Certified instructors. Enrollment is available for students attending one of seven OPS High schools. Opened in 1985, the Career Center continues the legacy of former Omaha Technical High School (1924-1984). Automotive Technology has been an integral program since the beginning of Technical High School.

Students can take courses in Steering and Suspension, Brakes, HVAC, Engine Repair, Engine Performance, Transmissions, and Electrical. More than 12 industry certifications can be earned by students. Additionally, automotive courses taken at the Career Center are recognized as related instruction in Youth Registered Apprenticeships with two local car dealers. There are between 80-100 students enrolled annually in the Automotive Technology program.

Students at R.L. Turner high school have a long history and passion for automobiles and accessorizing their vehicles. Photos in yearbooks dating back to the 1960's that highlight the school's hot rod club. Today, many students have a desire to make modifications and upgrades to their personal vehicles, but do not have the resources or funds to make that happen. The auto shop class, which is a NATEF Accredited Program, provides an outlet and learning opportunities for students interested in the automotive field. With a fully equipped, state of the art facility, students learn both basic and advanced techniques in automotive technician, collision and repair, fabrication and more.

The students at R.L. Turner will be building a 1997 Toyota 4Runner as part of the 2020-2021 SEMA High School Vehicle Build. The Jeep will be sold at the end of the school year and proceeds will go towards funding another vehicle build for the school.

Santa Fe Early College Opportunities Applied Science Magnet School (Santa Fe ECO) is a magnet high school that provides applied sciences and tech training along with traditional academic classes. The school has a robust automotive education program with training in auto tech, auto collision and welding courses. SEMA partnered with Santa Fe ECO in 2018 to pilot the High School Vehicle Build Program with a 2015 4WD Jeep Wrangler Unlimited that the students rebuilt and customized. The Jeep was auctioned off for more than $56,000, which led to the continued expansion of the program. Check out their 2018 build! The students at Santa Fe ECO will be building a 2002 Jeep Wrangler as part of the 2020-2021 SEMA High School Vehicle Build. The Jeep will again be sold at the end of the school year. Proceeds from the auction will go towards funding another vehicle build for the school.

The Santa Ynez Valley Union High School Automotive Technology Dept not only provides students with automotive skillsets and knowledge but gives them a great sense of community. The program, better known as Pirates Garage, hosts an annual car show in their local community, which raises funds to support programs such as sending students to the SkillsUSA competition, community service projects, Pirate Garage Race Team activities, vehicle restoration projects and team uniforms. The students also spend a great deal of time prepping cars for their Pirate Garage Race Team, which participates in the JB Dewar Tractor Restoration Project, Skills USA and more. Santa Ynez High School students will have the opportunity to develop and master the skills needed to go forward in the workplace or seek additional education in the automotive industry. Santa Ynez Valley Union High School students will be building a 1996 Toyota 4Runner as part of the 2020-2021 SEMA High School Vehicle Build. The Jeep will be sold at the end of the school year and proceeds will go towards funding another vehicle build for the school.

WFISD Career Education Center (CEC) is a state-of-the-art facility that prides itself in thinking outside of the box. Their automotive program has created partnerships and opportunities with their local community to produce students that are ready for the workforce and/or higher education. The CEC has both an automotive technology and collision program bosting over 100 students. These students are preparing for ASE certifications and range from 10th -12th grade with a variety of backgrounds and interest in the auto field.




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2019 RECAP

The five fully-customized Jeep Wrangler TJ's built by high school students as part of the SEMA High School Vehicle Build Program were up for auction in an event called "SEMA Week of Customs". The auction event launched on Monday July 15, 2019 with one Jeep released for five consecutive days with a seven-day auction life. The final auction closed Friday, July 26, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. PDT.

The finished builds auctioned through program partner, Bring a Trailer, an online auction marketplace for buying and selling special vehicles resulted in a total of $127,000 to benefit high school auto shop programs. Bring a Trailer also generously donated their auction fee to the program bringing the grand total to $133,350! Proceeds from the auctions are being reinvested back into the SEMA program to fund another round of builds for the 5 participating schools and will go towards the expansion of the program to further its reach to 5 new schools for a total of 10 builds in the 2019-2020 school year.

"We at Bring a Trailer are very excited to partner again with SEMA to auction these special custom Jeeps," said Randy Nonnenberg, BaT Co-founder & CEO. "Young enthusiasts are key to the future of the automotive hobby and we applaud SEMA for furthering their investment in this program and these students. We are very happy to again be donating our entire 5% auction fees on these Jeeps to the same great cause."

This program partnered with C.D. Hylton High School, Comstock High School, R.L. Turner High School, Santa Fe ECO and Santa Ynez Valley Union High School to complete the semester-long build projects. Thirty-three automotive aftermarket companies sponsored these builds by contributing parts and when paired with the craftsmanship and vision of the students, these Jeeps are truly one of a kind.

The industry has really supported this project," said Zane Clark, SEMA Senior Director of Education. "Their generosity has elevated the build beyond our expectations and created a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for the students."



For general inquiries or to get involved, please contact SEMA's Member Services Project Manager of Member Services Byron Bergmann at


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