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Four Auto Tech Students Receive Auto Dealer Scholarships

The Washington State Auto Dealers Association (WSADA) awarded a total of $10,000 to four students studying automotive technology in the first-ever “New Car and Truck Dealers Bright Future” scholarship program.  Applicants were asked to explain why they want to be an automotive technician, provide a letter of recommendation from an instructor or advisor, and discuss career opportunities with a new car and truck dealership service department employee.

Johnny Desselle is a student in the Automotive Technology program at Grays Harbor College.  Originally from Louisiana, Johnny relocated to Washington State five years ago after he was displaced due to hurricanes.   With finances severely limited, at times Johnny had to live in his truck.  John wrote in his application, “I refuse to give up, am at class every day and intend to obtain my degree.”  Upon accepting the scholarship he said, “I am honored that the Washington State Auto Dealers Association chose me for this award, and will include the award letter in my resumé portfolio.”

Kyle Grenfell found his niche while taking automotive courses in high school and said his success there was one of the first times he really felt confident about himself.  Kyle is now in the General Motors ASEP program at Shoreline Community College and has a paid internship at Bill Pierre Chevrolet in Seattle.  “I was blessed to find a great dealership sponsor that partnered me with a phenomenal mentor,” Kyle said.  “Pursuing this career was the right choice for me because I enjoy challenges and fixing customer cars the right way.”  In accepting the award Kyle said, “Once I finish the program, I will be a first-generation college graduate, and could not be more ecstatic.”

A self-described lifelong gearhead, Victor Harrington decided in middle school to become an automotive technician after he discovered a correlation between taking things apart and working on vehicles.  Victor now commutes every few weeks from Kennewick to participate in Ford Motor Company’s ASSET apprentice program at Renton Technical College.  “I have worked at Corwin Ford Tri-Cities as an apprentice technician for two years and couldn’t be happier with where I am not only in my career, but in my life,” Victor said.  “I wake up every morning and work at a job that I enjoy, doing things that I like doing, while working for and with people that treat me like I matter.”

Seattle resident Taebum Park is a student in Lake Washington Institute of Technology’s Automotive Technology program.  Taebum wants to become an automotive technician because of the continuing high demand for vehicles and the opportunity for continued learning and challenges as new technologies emerge.  “Many manufacturers and customers will need mechanics who can handle hybrid and electric cars in the near future,” Taebum said, “and I hope to be equipped with the knowledge and discipline to adapt to new technology.”  In his acceptance letter, Taebum said, “the WSADA scholarship will reduce the financial pressure, and greatly help me focus on my academics instead of constant financial concerns.”

“Washington’s franchised new car and truck dealers serve 70 communities around the state and together provide over 21,000 people with good, family-wage jobs,” said WSADA Executive Vice President Vicki Giles Fabré, “and I’m pleased our scholarship recipients are considering careers in the automotive industry.  Based on their applications, these students will make great future employees.”

WSADA will offer another automotive technology scholarship program in Fall 2018.  Information will be available at wsada.org.

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