Ally Financial joined seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to introduce teens to motorsports careers and money basics.
Approximately 60 students from Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Cabarrus County schools met with Johnson and other professionals on Sept. 25 at career “pit stops” to learn about engineering, marketing, automotive tech, computer science and personal finance. They explored both university and certificate degree career paths while touring the Hendrick Motorsports campus.
“For as far back as I can remember, my parents instilled a certain framework in my brothers and I, and it was all about maintaining a solid grade point average in school and handling our responsibilities around the house,” said Johnson. “I’m so thankful that they did – maybe not always at the time, but it allowed me to follow my dreams of racing. And once I was a teenager, I had a little bit of money saved and put it away. I instill the same values in my daughters. I’m so impressed with Ally’s Fueling Futures initiative. Programs like this allow for me to participate and help kids in the community.”
Throughout the day, students were exposed to the broad range of behind-the-scenes jobs essential to professional sports operations and related fields. For example, software development and computer experience were highlighted as key skills for jobs ranging from engineering simulations and vehicle repair diagnostics to social media production.
“Students often don’t realize how many career opportunities in racing exist beyond the driver’s seat,” said Alison Summerville, business administration executive and head of Corporate Citizenship, Ally Financial. “We hope today’s activities encourage teens to get excited and feel empowered about their futures.”
Representatives from Ally, Johnson’s primary sponsor, led the career “pit stop” discussion on budgeting and the importance of building credit and savings. Money management is an area where many young people feel unprepared. An Ally survey found that recent grads give themselves poor grades in personal finance and say they would like to learn how to better manage their finances.
Ally has made economic mobility and financial education cornerstones of its efforts to make communities stronger.
“Jimmie shares our commitment to give back and do it right in the community,” said Summerville. “We’re excited to work with the Jimmie Johnson Foundation to strengthen education opportunities and economic mobility through the ‘Ally Fueling Futures’ initiative.”
The No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 race car will feature a special paint scheme to recognize the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Ally Fueling Futures for the Oct. 20 race at Kansas Speedway. The “Ally Fueling Futures” program debuted at Michigan International Speedway last month, and the Ally Racing team plans to continue the program next year.
Representatives from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and the Universal Technical Institute also met with students to discuss higher education and job training paths after high school.