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Advance, Wake Tech Name First Auto Program Scholarship Recipients

Scholarships are aimed at increasing diversity in the school’s auto programs amid industrywide shortage of technicians.

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Advance Auto Parts Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Advance Auto Parts, Inc., has announced the first five recipients of its scholarship commitment to Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech) and its new Hendrick Center for Automotive Excellence. The scholarships are part of a larger commitment by the Advance Auto Parts Foundation that also includes a first-of-its-kind recruitment initiative aimed at increasing student diversity in the school’s automotive systems technology and collision repair programs to help address the nationwide technician shortage. 

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Over the next five years, Advance Auto Parts Foundation will support 25 students enrolled in Wake Tech’s automotive degree programs by funding $5,000 unrestricted scholarships for each student to offset educational and living expenses, plus a one-time $600 stipend to purchase tools needed for studies. The first five recipients of these scholarships were nominated by high school guidance counselors and selected by Wake Tech. They include:  

·       Bryant Torres Garcia ofEast Wake High School  

·       Amiya Hall of South Garner High School 

·       Alexander Kirschenbauer of East Wake High School  

·       Waylen Bryce McLeod of East Wake High School 

·       Javai Thomas O’Briant of East Wake High School  

These scholarship recipients will begin their training in the Automotive Systems Technology degree program in the fall 2022 semester.  

“Automotive repair jobs offer competitive pay, the opportunity to continue learning new skills and the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping someone get their vehicle back on the road safely,” said Tom Greco, president and chief executive officer of Advance Auto Parts. “Despite the many positives associated with careers in our industry, the technician shortage is worsening. This is one of the reasons we are so thrilled to partner with Wake Tech and help support students from all backgrounds and experiences who want to explore careers in automotive service and repair.”  

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The scholarship announcement follows the opening of Wake Tech’s new $42 million Hendrick Center for Automotive Excellence, a more than 100,000-square-foot facility on the college’s Scott Northern Wake Campus in Raleigh. The new facility allows the college to triple the number of students in its automotive systems technology program and add a new collision repair program.  

“The Advance Auto Parts Foundation’s support enables us to directly address automotive technician workforce and diversity needs,” said Dr. Scott Ralls, president of Wake Technical Community College. “We are grateful to Advance for their partnership in awarding the scholarships and within the larger programs that our new Hendrick Center supports.” 

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In addition to a $200,000 gift from the Advance Auto Parts Foundation, Advance Auto Parts contributed $50,000 to outfit new tool rooms that support student learning. The tool rooms are branded DieHard® in celebration of DieHard’s new lifetime warranty hand tools, which exceed ANSI/ASME standards and feature an anti-slip open-end design on all combination wrenches, a driver handle designed for more ergonomic shape and a line of ratchets created for better wear resistance and strength than other bit materials. DieHard’s new hand tools deliver reliability and durability and represent the next wave of innovation for the brand.  

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