Advance Auto Parts Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Advance Auto Parts, Inc., announced a $200,000 commitment and partnership with Wake Technical Community College (WTCC) for a first-of-its-kind recruitment initiative aimed at increasing student diversity in the school’s automotive systems technology and collision repair programs. Additionally, the retailer has committed $50,000 in funding to outfit the school’s tool rooms to support student learning.
In partnership with organizations such as Communities In Schools, Juntos (NC State) and the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals, funding will be used to conduct direct outreach in Wake County high schools to encourage diverse populations to pursue automotive career paths. Starting this fall, the Advance Auto Parts Foundation’s gift will help 25 students enrolling in the program over the next five years by funding $5,000 scholarships for each student to offset educational and living expenses and a one-time, $600 stipend to purchase tools scholarship recipients need to complete their studies and start their careers.
“At Advance, we understand the value of having an industry that reflects the diversity of the customers it serves,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO of Advance Auto Parts. “By providing resources and support to Wake Tech and its new Hendrick Center, we hope to inspire students from all backgrounds and experiences to explore careers in automotive service and repair, which will help address the technician shortage and benefit our industry and society as a whole.”
Added Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls, “Increasing student diversity in our automotive repair programs is a strategic imperative for WTCC. Thanks to the generosity of the Advance Auto Parts Foundation, students from a variety of backgrounds will now be inspired to pursue careers in the automotive field and provided the financial support they need to complete their studies.”
In addition to Advance Auto Parts Foundation’s $200,000 gift, Advance Auto Parts, through its DieHard brand, has committed $50,000 to outfit the school’s two tool rooms, supporting student learning on and off campus by allowing students to “check out” tools for temporary use.
This partnership comes at a critical time as the U.S. currently faces a worsening shortage of automotive technicians according to TechForce, an automotive industry foundation dedicated to launching and advancing the careers of next generation technicians. In addition, there exists a lack of diverse representation in this segment of the automotive industry, with 91% of technicians identifying as male and more than two-thirds of technicians identifying as white or non-Hispanic, according to Zippia, an online career-resource platform.
WTCC’s automotive systems technology degree program features training in advanced diagnostics, brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, steering/suspension, transmission, climate control and manual drive trains. WTCC’s collision repair and refinishing technology program includes painting and refinishing, including special finishes, non-structural and structural repair, automotive plastic and adhesives identification repair, automotive detailing, body shop operations and auto body estimating. Beginning next month, both programs will be housed at the new Hendrick Center for Automotive Excellence, a $42 million, 100,653-sq.-ft. facility on WTCC’s Scott Northern Wake Campus.
For more information, visit http://aet.waketech.edu.