ADRIAN — Four Lenawee Intermediate School District Tech Center students in the automotive services technology program have received $1,000 grants that will allow them to buy a toolbox and tools.
The Gary Bettis Tool Box grants were presented by the Lenawee County Education Foundation, according to a news release from the LISD and LCEF.
Dave Bacus of Tecumseh, Avery Dickerson of Sand Creek, Mason Hessling of Clinton and Nick Reppert of Tecumseh each received a $1,000 grant to purchase an automotive toolbox and basic tool kit. It is standard practice for automotive service technicians to provide their own tools in the workplace, including hand tools and specialty electrical tools. Tools will be purchased through a partnership with Blissfield Parts Inc., a NAPA Auto Parts store with a branch location in Adrian, where students will also receive a discount on any tools they purchase.
“I’m grateful to receive this grant,” Nick Reppert, a Tecumseh senior, said. “I don’t have any of my own tools, so this will give me a great start in my automotive career.”
“It’s great to see these students learning to become experts in this field,” Dave Cabinaw, president of Blissfield Parts Inc., said. “These students are starting a career where traditional scholarships aren’t available, but they still need and deserve our support.”
The AST program prepares students for automotive service careers, including technicians, mechanics, engineers and parts specialists. The ever-increasing sophistication of automotive technology and the longevity of vehicles contribute to the growing need for automotive professionals nationwide.
Students in this program learn in a shop setting and can earn industry-recognized certifications, including their state mechanic certification and automotive service excellence certifications.
“This is a wonderful example of the many career opportunities for local students that don’t require a college degree,” John Wanke, LCEF executive director, said. “Programs like this allow students to enter the workforce right after high school in a career path with a pressing need for skilled professionals.”
This grant was established anonymously in memory of Gary Bettis, an LISD Tech Center alumnus. Bettis was passionate about the ATS program and owned a full-service fuel store and automotive repair shop for more than 50 years.
“During Gary’s time at the LISD Tech Center (known as Vo-Tech at that time), students could learn and master most skills in automotive repair and be ready to go to work upon graduation,” Mark Lafollette, AST instructor, said. “Today’s students, while not being able to master all higher-level skills due to complexity and time constraints, are now able to attain accreditation, licensing and entry-level job skills. Today’s employers are ready and able to provide the additional training and experience needed to bring new employees up to master status.”
This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: LISD Tech Center students awarded Gary Bettis Tool Box grants