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UPDATE Employers, students & instructors encouraged to apply for tool grants, scholarships

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A webinar hosted by the ASE Education Foundation on Wednesday highlighted several national scholarship opportunities available to not only students, but also employers, schools, instructors, and employers in the automotive, collision, and diesel repair fields.

April Lausch, manager of Faulkner Collison Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, shared that she is on many school advisory councils and shares the ASE webinars to spread awareness for the free money opportunities that are available.

Lausch attended an ASE webinar last year about scholarships and, because of her encouragement, two of her entry-level employees completed applications. Both were awarded scholarships.

“I have five students right now that work for me that all have mentors,” she said. “We’re all technicians so we’re going to grow our own, but they need tools.”

The thousands of dollars it takes for students to spend on tools can often be a barrier in completing school or advancing in their careers.

One scholarship available to students specifically for tools, and touted by Lausch, is the “Be A Technician “B.A.T-man/woman” scholarship from Steve Johnson Racing. Winners receive $4,000 in Snap-on tools.

Students studying to become automotive, diesel, or collision technicians can apply at The application includes five short-answer questions. Finalists are asked to submit a one-minute video sharing why they should be given the tools.

“I engage the instructors to really reach out to the students and show them how easy this really is,” Johnson said. “I will give you some tips to winning — don’t give generic answers. You’ve got to give some explanation.”

All of the winners of each of the scholarships will be announced at a National Hotrod Association race. Presentations will then be made at the schools of the winners.

Harbor Freight Tools for Schools

More than $1.5 million will be given to 25 skilled trade instructors this year. Between 2017 and 2023, there were 133 winners of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence totaling $7 million, including 29 automotive winners.

Winners have been named in 40 states. In the hope of eventually having winners from all 50 states and the city of Washington D.C., Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is increasing its promotions about the application process for the states that have not had a winner. The 10 states are Massachusetts, Nevada, South Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Maine, South Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

The application period for the 2024 prize opens March 12. The deadline to apply is May 3. For more information visit

Winners also receive an all-expenses-paid four-day trip to Los Angeles for an annual convening called Let’s Build It. All teachers who participate will have access to webinars.

Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF)

Tool grants and scholarships distributed by CREF from company sponsors ranging from $500-$5,000 are available to apply for through March 9. There are also tool grants and “Hire Our Heroes” grants from 3M for military veterans.

New this year, CREF has partnered with the Women’s Industry Network (WIN) to offer grants to female technicians.

Only one application needs to be filled out for a chance at any of the scholarships. Based on eligibility, applicants will be considered for all opportunities.

Applicants must be enrolled in a collision repair program and be either high school seniors or post-secondary students. One semester of collision repair study must be completed to apply.

A written essay or video essay

Collision instructors must complete the Collision Repair School Solutions Survey for students to be eligible for any of the scholarships or tool grants.

Award payments will go to the school and/or loan company and not to the individual student for current collision repair tuition, tuition for the next semester or year, or toward student loans.

Any funds left over after money is applied to tuition or loans go toward collision repair textbooks, tools, fees, uniforms, et cetera. Any funds left over after that can be used on textbooks, fees, and supplies for non-collision courses.

School grants of up to $25,000 are also awarded to collision school programs to bridge the financial gap for teaching materials and equipment, according to CREF. The application period opens in late January. They are available to high school and college collision schools nationwide.

Garage Gurus

Garage Gurus, an automotive training program that combines technical training, product expertise, and onsite, online, and on-demand options, is offering 12 scholarships of $2,500 each this year. The application period is Feb. 1-May 31.

The scholarships are exclusively for current high school students, students enrolled in college or trade school automotive programs, or those who have been accepted into a college or trade school automotive program.

Requirements include:

    • Completion of the application form;
    • Submission of academic transcripts;
    • Two non-family recommendation letters; and
    • A written essay of up to 1,000 words or a video of up to three minutes explaining “Why I Want to Be A Top Tech.”

Submissions can be sent via email to, or mail — ATTN: Garage Guru Scholarship, 3168 Riverport Tech Center Dr., St. Louis, MO 63043.

For more information, visit

Noregon Systems

Twenty scholarships are available every spring and fall semester to Noregon Education Program member school students enrolled in a diesel technician program. Half of the scholarships are $1,000 each and the others are $500 each.

Spring 2024 applications are due Feb. 12.

The fall semester application period will open at the end of the summer and close in mid-December. Students can apply every semester and have the chance to win more than once.

Applicants are asked:

    • Why did you choose a diesel program over an automotive program?
    • What do you hope to do with your training after graduation?
    • Tell us about any experience you have working on trucks or diesel engines
    • What positive change do you believe you can bring to the industry?

All applications are anonymized. A scholarship review team looks over all of the applications and selects their top 20. The top 10 receive $1,000 each and 11-20 receive $500 each. Students are notified via email to confirm details.

Checks are processed and sent directly to the school on each student’s behalf.

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)

U.S. and Canadian students can apply for SEMA’s 2024 Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness until March 1. To apply, students must be high school seniors, or enrolled in a college, university, or post-secondary career and technology school automotive aftermarket degree or certification program.

Applicants must:

    • Demonstrate a passion for the automotive hobby and career
    • Upload an unofficial transcript or technical training progress report with application
    • Submit an online recommendation from your teacher, employer, or mentor

More information is available at

National Technical Honor Society (NTHS):

Students must be members to apply. Nearly $300,000 in scholarships is given out every year.

New this year, in addition to the above CTE scholarship, NTHS has partnered with ASE to offer a $500 scholarship specifically for an ASE-accredited collision, automotive, or diesel repair student member. Students who apply must have a 3.0 GPA in CTE classes or overall, be enrolled in and have passing status in one of the three repair programs, and pass an entry-level ASE exam.

Several other partner scholarships are available to apply for at

Last year, 653,395 scholarships were awarded, 80% of which were for training.

The deadline to apply is March 31st and award notifications take place in June. The money is sent to schools on behalf of the students in August.

One application is for multiple scholarships out of a pool of money from more than 40 organizations.


    • Full-time student at an accredited U.S. college or university or an ASE-certified (or previously known as National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation certification)
    • ASE/NATEF-certified post-secondary collision repair, automotive, or heavy-duty equipment
    • Graduating high school seniors planning to be full-time students at any of the above
    • No GPA requirement
    • Students who will not graduate from their college before December
    • Essay
    • Reference letter
    • Transcript

Text your name and email address to 720-903-2206 for more information, reminders, and deadlines.

Another route to support collision repair education is hands-on experience working on wrecked vehicles, like in the “Wreck/Rebuild” program at Alfred State College of Technology in New York.

Students in the autobody repair major learn repairs firsthand and what it’s like to work in a collision shop, according to an Alfred State news release.

Wrecked vehicles are purchased with funding provided by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc. The foundation has a New York State automobile dealer’s license that allows the college to purchase wrecked cars from auto salvage auctions. The foundation also covers the cost of any parts or materials needed to bring the vehicles back to pre-accident condition.

“These cars are great learning tools for our students,” said C.J. Tremper, Alfred College automotive trades instructor. “The repairs that the students perform are like what they will see when they get into the workplace. Challenges like this force our students to step up their skills and reinforces what they have learned during their time in this program.”

Student recently repaired a 2014 Dodge Avenger that had sustained front-end damage, causing two air bags to deploy. They replaced panels, painted the car, and installed new air bags.

The radiator and air conditioning were damaged so students diagnosed and replaced what was needed.

To get the car back on the road, the students performed a complete inspection and found that the vehicle needed new brake pads, rotors, and a front-end alignment, according to the news release.

In Canada, an association has new exclusive recruitment and human resources offerings.

The Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) has partnered with to increase the visibility of job opportunities within Canada’s auto care sector.

“AIA Canada understands the need to address the ongoing labour issue in our industry, which is why we joined forces with,” said Jean-François Champagne, AIA Canada president and CEO, in a news release. “We aim to elevate the recruitment process in the auto care sector, making it more accessible, efficient, and beneficial for both employers and job seekers.”

AIA Canada members in good standing can enjoy the benefits of this exclusive partnership, including, but not limited to:

    • Volume posting discounts;
    • Discount on advertising space on;
    • Discount on Atman tests; and
    • Discounted assisted recruitment services package, which includes job reference, driver’s license validation, and criminal record assessment.

AIA Canada members can access these discounts by logging into their AIA Canada membership accounts and visiting the membership benefits webpage.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited since publication to include updated information about the Tools for Schools program.


Featured image: Stock photo of a vehicle repair instructor with a student. (Credit: monkeybusinessimages/iStock)

Steve Johnson, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Racer and team owner, is pictured with BAT-man “Be A Technician” Scholarship recipients Reimy Santiago De La Cruz and Kaden Riehl as well as Faulkner Collision Center Manager April Lausch on May 11, 2023 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A 2014 Dodge Avenger when it arrived at Alfred College for collision repair students to repair. (Provided by Alfred College) National Sales Manager Stéphanie Massé and AIA Canada CAE, President and CEO Jean-François Champagne shake hands on the new partnership between and AIA Canada.

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