As the nationwide automotive technician shortage worsens, a helping hand with scholarships could make all the difference to those interested in joining the collision repair industry, or any area of the automotive sector, and to businesses in need of more skilled employees.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) awards $1,000-$8,000 scholarships to current high school or college collision repair program students every July. Students can apply for this year’s on the foundation’s website by the end of this month and the deadline is March 2. CREF has $175,000 so far to award this year. Collision instructors must complete the “Collision Repair School Solutions Survey” for students to be eligible for any of CREF’s scholarships or tool grants. Other eligibility requirements vary based on the type of scholarship and can include gender, school, year in school, future plans, outside activities, and/or financial need.
Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) offers $5,000 scholarships. To apply, all it takes is an unofficial transcript or technical training progress report, an online recommendation from a teacher, employer or mentor and a demonstrated passion for the automotive industry. Eligibility requires applicants to be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and an incoming freshman or already enrolled in U.S. college, university or post-secondary career and technology school. The scholarships, awarded in July, aren’t exclusive to the collision industry either – all automotive disciplines are welcomed. Loan forgiveness is also offered. The deadline to apply for both is March 1. Find out more at sites.sema.org/scholarships.
Forty scholarships will be available through the TechForce Foundation’s partnership with Advance Auto Parts. The $2,500 scholarships will be funded by a $25,000 donation from WD-40 through the “RevUp” campaign. Charles Sanville, known as “The Humble Mechanic,” has matched one of the $2,500 scholarships to create a $5,000 scholarship. Recipients will receive additional resources and career development opportunities.
As part of the partnership, from Dec. 30 through Feb. 16, Advance will offer WD-40 at a discounted price with revenue from the promotion expected to help support scholarships. Donations to help fund more scholarships can be given to the RevUp campaign on TechForce’s website. More information about other scholarships offered through TechForce is available at techforce.org/scholarships. All of TechForce’s scholarship programs are year-round on monthly cycles so student can apply at any point during the year.
The Minnesota chapter of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP/MN) awards $1,500 scholarships every fall to first- and second-year students enrolled in post-secondary auto service and collision repair programs. Students that apply must submit at least one reference letter and have their instructor submit a verification form on their behalf. High school students enrolled in an automotive class are eligible to apply with an instructor verification form and a reference letter. The application deadline is March 31. Learn more or apply at aaspmn.org/scholarships.
The University of the Aftermarket Foundation (UAF) offers scholarships and helps connect students to other organizations that offer them. By submitting a UAF application, students are not only automatically considered by the UAF but also by several other organizations. Full-time students attending an accredited U.S. college or university or an ASE/NATEF certified post-secondary automotive, heavy duty, or collision repair school as well as graduating high school seniors planning to be full-time students at any of the aforementioned are eligible. There is no GPA requirement. Canadian students are also welcome to apply through a separate application form. Find out more and apply online at automotivescholarships.com/apply-online.
Featured image: Many scholarship opportunities are available to those who want a career in the collision repair industry, or the automotive industry in general. Credit: FG Trade/iStock