PHILADELPHIA — Icahn Automotive L.P. has selected 15 aspiring automotive technicians to receive scholarships worth $2,500 each as part of its "Race to 2026" auto tech training initiative.
Icahn Automotive — which owns and operates the Pep Boys auto repair chain and the AAMCO and Precision Tune Auto Care franchise programs — said the scholarship program is designed to help fill an industrywide talent gap projected to grow to 46,000 over the next six years.
"Our scholarship program celebrates students who are driven to pursue automotive service as a profession and helps them reach their potential," Brian Kaner, CEO–Service for Pep Boys, said.
"The skills gap still exists in the U.S., and we're passionate about using our programs to show talented, motivated students how fulfilling a technical career can be."
The 2020 "Find Your Drive" scholarship program was expanded to 15 recipients from its planned dozen, Icahn said, because several applicants' scores tied.
Students receiving scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year, and their intended schools, are:
- Kevin Alvarenga, Mooresville, N.C., NASCAR Technical Institute;
- Savannah Arias, Tustin, Calif., Saddleback Community College;
- Justin Benson, Swedesboro, N.J., Lincoln Tech;
- Christopher Floyan, Pleasant Valley, N.Y., Lincoln Tech;
- Maverick Ellington, New Richmond, Ohio, NASCAR Technical Institute;
- Jake Maha, Sayreville, N.J., SUNY Morrisville;
- Michael Marelli, Florham Park, N.J., Universal Technical Institute;
- Dylan Muench, Perryville, Mo., State Technical College of Missouri;
- Catherine Nelson, Philadelphia, Lincoln Tech;
- Michael Nyce, Middlesex, N.J., Universal Technical Institute;
- Leonel Palacios, Union, N.J., Lincoln Tech;
- Ramon Perez, Mahwah, N.J., Lincln Tech;
- Nelson Ruiz, Dingmans Ferry, Pa., Lincoln Tech;
- Ryan Schweizer, Rockaway, N.J., Universal Technical Institute; and
- Aaron Young, Vernal, Utah, Utah Valley University.
Each scholarship winner is pursuing an automotive technician degree or certification. All applicants were required to meet certain academic requirements and to provide written or video essays describing "Why I want to be a top technician," as well as two letters of recommendation.
In addition to scholarships, the program includes partnerships with leading technical schools, and part-time work and internship opportunities during a student's education, Icahn said.
After graduation, a technician can start with an Icahn Automotive company performing basic maintenance and, by taking advantage of benefits such as tuition assistance, apprenticeships, company-sponsored certifications and continuing education, can move on to more complex repairs, or progress to running a company-owned store, owning and operating a franchised business, or serving in a corporate leadership role.