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SEMA announced a rules change that allows part-time and high school students to apply for thousands of dollars in scholarship money.
The scholarships, which run between $2,000-$3,000 with a grand prize of $5,000, had before been restricted to college students, according to SEMA senior director of education Zane Clark.
“The change is part of an effort by SEMA’s Scholarship committee to start students down the automotive path and support their efforts at an earlier stage,” SEMA wrote in a news release Friday.
Clark said the organization typically gives out around 60 awards a year. He said students in traditional high schools, not just predominantly vo-tech campuses, were “absolutely” also encouraged to apply if they could “demonstrate some type of passion for the automotive industry.”
He said students more interested in fields like marketing and business than wrenching on a shop floor could also apply provided they were passionate about automotive.
SEMA might be able to convince students who didn’t see potential in the automotive aftermarket the industry might have a place for them, Clark suggested.
“It’s about spreading the good word,” he said.
“SEMA is dedicated to activating the next-generation automotive workforce by providing financial support and career resources to students enrolled in various high schools, universities, colleges, and/or vocational schools in the United States,” SEMA Chairman-Elect Tim Martin said in a statement.
SEMA also is taking applications for its student loan-forgiveness programs. Those working full-time at a SEMA member can apply annually for up to $2,000 in debt forgiveness, Clark said.
Clark said applicants would have to pick one or the other program when applying.
The scholarship and loan-forgiveness application period began Nov. 1 and runs through March 1, 2018. Requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA and U.S. citizenship.
SEMA, Nov. 10, 2017
Featured image: SEMA’s 2017 career event is shown. The organization has opened its application period for scholarships and loan-forgiveness for automotive-loving students and SEMA member employees. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)