Pep Boys announced the 15 recipients of its annual Find Your Drive $100,000 scholarship program.
The company increased its investment during this 100th year in business to $100,000 to celebrate its centennial and continue its emphasis of the critical “Race to 2026” initiative, a program designed to recruit and support the talented technicians in the automotive industry and close America’s skills gap.
The 2021 scholarship winners will have a special opportunity to participate and be recognized during the #PepBoysRoadTrip, a custom Pep Boys-branded bus that is traveling across the country and visiting the communities the Company serves.
“For 100 years, Pep Boys has supported the technicians who keep America moving,” said Brian Kaner, CEO. “This year’s Find Your Drive scholarship program is another example of how we are preparing Pep Boys to serve the drivers of the future. Our industry thrives when we have talented technicians in the service bays, and we’re excited to celebrate these 15 students who are truly exceling in the field.”
This year’s scholarship program included five $10,000 scholarships to qualified students studying to become professional automotive technicians in major metro areas: Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Orlando, Florida.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Caguas, Puerto Rico. Students receiving $10,000 scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year are:
- Valentin Davy, Miami, Florida – Universal Technical Institute, Orlando, Florida
- Jonathan Cotto, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico – Mech-Tech College Caguas, Puerto Rico
- Eli Alvarez, Hutto, Texas – Texas State Technical College, Waco, Texas
- Julien Vargas, Lehighton, Pennsylvania – Universal Technical Institute, Exton, Pennsylvania
- Cecilia Ledesma, El Monte, California – Rio Hondo College, Whittier, California
The additional ten $5,000 scholarships were awarded to qualified students in other areas of the U.S. Students receiving $5,000 scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year are:
- John Paul Jansen, Bellevue, Nebraska – Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas
- Kasey Tarantino, Pennsburg, Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
- Hannah Armstrong, Shamrock, Texas – Universal Technical Institute, Irving, Texas
- Esperanza Murguia, San Dimas, California – Universal Technical Institute, Avondale, Arizona
- Daniel Gorski, Chicago, Illinois – Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois
- Mark Jones, Mountainside, New Jersey– Ohio Technical College, Cleveland, Ohio
- Erick Poole, Waukegan, Illinois – Lincoln Technical Institute, Melrose Park, Illinois
- Nicail Andres Ruiz Alcaide, San Juan, Puerto Rico – Mech-Tech College, Caguas, Puerto Rico
- Derek Deddo, Midlothian, Illinois – Lincoln Technical Institute, Melrose Park, Illinois
- Zachariah Riehle, Milan, Indiana – University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, Ohio
This year, the Find Your Drive scholarship committee also reviewed applications and selected winners from among those who had applied through the University of the Aftermarket Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps provide funding and helps facilitate scholarships within the aftermarket for students pursuing an automotive technician degree or certification.
The annual scholarship program is part of Pep Boys’ “Race to 2026” initiative that aims to increase the number of trained technicians and help fill an industry-wide talent gap projected to grow to 46,000 over the next five years. Pep Boys offers a broad range of industry-leading opportunities and career paths designed to encourage talented future technicians to follow their passion for automotive.