PHILADELPHIA — Icahn Enterprises L.P.'s Pep Boys brand has named the 15 recipients of its annual Find Your Drive $100,000 scholarship program.
Pep Boys increased its investment to $100,000 as the brand celebrates its 100th anniversary. The company is continuing to emphasize its "Race to 2026" initiative, a program designed to recruit and support "talented technicians in the automotive industry and close America's skills gap."
Five qualifying students who are studying to become professional automotive technicians in major metropolitan areas will receive $10,000 scholarships. Those metro areas include Houston, Texas; Los Angeles; Orlando; Philadelphia; and Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Those students are:
- Valentin Davy, Miami, Universal Technical Institute, Orlando;
- Jonathan Cotto, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, Mech-Tech College Caguas, Puerto Rico;
- Eli Alvarez, Hutto, Texas, Texas State Technical College, Waco, Texas;
- Julien Vargas, Lehighton, Pa., Universal Technical Institute, Exton, Pa.; and
- Cecilia Ledesma, El Monte, Calif., Rio Hondo College, Whittier, Calif.
Ten other students received 5,000 scholarships in other areas of the U.S. They are:
- John Paul Jansen, Bellevue, Neb., Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan.;
- Kasey Tarantino, Pennsburg, Pa.; Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, Pa.;
- Hannah Armstrong, Shamrock, Texas, Universal Technical Institute, Irving, Texas;
- Esperanza Murguia, San Dimas, Calif., Universal Technical Institute, Avondale, Ariz.;
- Daniel Gorski, Chicago, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Carbondale, Ill.;
- Mark Jones, Mountainside, New Jersey, Ohio Technical College, Cleveland;
- Erick Poole, Waukegan, Ill., Lincoln Technical Institute, Melrose Park, Ill.;
- Nicail Andres Ruiz Alcaide, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mech-Tech College, Caguas, Puerto Rico;
- Derek Deddo, Midlothian, Illi., Lincoln Technical Institute, Melrose Park, Ill.; and
- Zachariah Riehle, Milan, Ind., University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, Ohio.
Scholarship winners may participate and be recognized during the #PepBoysRoadTrip, a Pep Boys-branded bus traveling across the country and visiting the communities the company serves.
To follow along with the #PepBoysRoadTrip and see future centennial celebrations, visit @PepBoysAuto.
"For 100 years, Pep Boys has supported the technicians who keep America moving," Pep Boys CEO Brian Kaner said. "This year's Find Your Drive scholarship program is another example of how we are preparing Pep Boys to serve the drivers of the future. Our industry thrives when we have talented technicians in the service bays, and we're excited to celebrate these 15 students who are truly excelling in the field."
This year, the Find Your Drive scholarship committee considered those who applied through the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps provide funding and facilitate scholarships within the aftermarket for students pursuing an automotive technician degree or certification.
The scholarship program is part of Pep Boys' "Race to 2026" initiative that has a goal of increasing the number of trained technicians. The talent gap is projected to grow to 46,000 over the next five years.
In addition to the scholarships, Pep Boys partners with leading technical schools, internship and work opportunities during a student's education.