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Automotive Technology Students Receive Grainger Toolkits

June 10, 2014

Grainger Scholarship presentation of toolkits  
STLCC students recently received toolkits that were part of their Granger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarships. Pictured are, from left, Jeff Avery, Grainger branch manager; Josh Walker, STLCC assistant professor; scholarship recipients Kamakani Glass and Ronnie Mack; Donna Harmon, from the STLCC Foundation; Rick Anthes, STLCC automotive technology; and Zachary Stegeman, Grainger operations manager.

Kamakani Glass and Ronnie Mack, recent graduates of the automotive technology program at St. Louis Community College, recently received their  toolkits that were in addition to their $2,000 scholarships from Grainger Industrial Supply.

Glass and Mack are two of 200 students in the United States selected for the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship this past school year. The monetary scholarship was applied to both fall and spring semesters, and the customized toolkit was awarded after graduation.

W.W. Grainger Inc.is a leading supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products with four local branch offices that support the St. Louis community. With 2013 sales of $9.4 billion, Grainger has 709 branches in North America, and has expanded operations to Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Kamakani Glass  
 Kamakani Glass

“Today’s St. Louis Community College technical education students will become tomorrow’s industrial skilled tradesmen, dedicated to keeping the St. Louis community working and growing,” said Jeff Avery, branch manager of Grainger’s Clark Avenue location in St. Louis. “One of the best ways to invest in St. Louis is to contribute to the education of our future tradesmen and women.”

There is a growing gap between industry’s workforce needs and the skills of job seekers. Grainger, in conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), launched the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship program in 2006. STLCC students who receive their training at the Forest Park campus have received annual scholarships since 2008.

The program is designed to help students in the industrial skilled trades curriculum who have demonstrated drive, commitment and leadership, realize their educational and career goals. Outstanding students at 100 selected AACC member colleges across the country win a $2,500 scholarship and, upon completion of the student’s technical education program, the customized Westward toolkit, which will help support Glass and Mack in their careers. Both were employed full time in the industry soon after graduation.

Students, who must take classes full time and carry a 3.5 or higher GPA, are selected through essays and faculty letters of recommendations.

“This lifetime of tools is a great way to start any business,” said Zachary Stegeman, Grainger’s operation manager at the Clark Avenue branch.

Ronnie Mack  
Ronnie Mack

Glass currently is working at Auto Evaluators as a B-level technician, hoping to concentrate on diagnostics, and will receive her associate degree next spring. She received a certificate of proficiency in May.

Mack is a technician at Firestone, and earned his associate degree, plus a certificate of proficiency, last month.

Regarding their gifts, Mack said, “It’s like being a kid at Christmastime.”

Glass concurred, “I feel like a kid in a candy store,” she said.

“We appreciate the support that Grainger gives to students to help them get started. With these tools, they’re going to be able to work and earn a living,” said Rick Anthes, associate professor and chair of the Automotive Technology department at STLCC. “It’s a good head start and will hopefully trickle back to the company, and they will be customers for life.”

Josh Walker, an assistant professor in automotive technology, said both students were deserving of their honors.

“We’re very proud of them,” he said. “I’m just glad Grainger gives this option to our students.”

The college automotive shop is one of the most modern in the area, housing the latest equipment for training in the automotive industry. Students spend 60 percent in "hands-on" shop work. The shop is used for actual repairs and on-the-job experience.