(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s statewide Automotive Technology program will be revving up stronger than ever, thanks to a generous contribution from a Texas-based automotive organization.
The Community of Automotive Professionals recently gave $30,000 for TSTC’s Automotive Technology programs in Harlingen, Sweetwater and Waco. The money will give a financial boost to TSTC’s ability to provide scholarships and improve equipment for use in labs and classes.
“(TSTC supports) all our core values, and we are partners moving forward,” said Mark Colaw, board chairman of the Community of Automotive Professionals, the 501(c)(3) organization that produces CarFest each spring in San Antonio. “They have a reach across Texas. That is what is important and impresses me.”
Michael Smith, senior field development officer for The TSTC Foundation, said the organization has consistently supported TSTC in recent years. It has given $160,000 in gifts to TSTC since 2015.
“We just have a phenomenal advocate in Mark (Colaw),” Smith said. “He sees the needs in the automotive industry and recognizes the quality of students that come out of TSTC.”
Miguel Zoleta, lead instructor in TSTC’s Automotive Technology program in Harlingen, said some of the organization’s financial gifts have gone toward student uniforms and lockers.
“We have also awarded students scholarships so they could purchase tools they need for our program,” he said.
Zoleta said the program has been fortunate to receive engines and a transmission from Jasper Engines and Transmissions through CarFest that students use in some of their courses.
Rudy Cervantez, TSTC’s statewide chair of the Automotive Technology department, said Automotive Technology students in Waco who bought a shirt at the campus store were given a second shirt free because of the financial gift. Students were also able to use new lockers to store tools.
“We wanted to help the students out,” he said.
Cervantez said Automotive Technology students statewide who have good referrals from program instructors and meet a grade-point average requirement are eligible for a $500 scholarship.
Cervantez said some money was used to help members of the first cohort of Tesla’s START training program at TSTC earlier this year. That program is taught at the Kultgen Automotive Center on the Waco campus.
CarFest is planned for April 9-11, 2021, at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio. However, the organization is working on contingency plans for the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are working on a Plan A and a Plan B,” Colaw said. “We improve our event every year. We are working on the new improvements as part of the plans. We are staying conscious that we need to pivot.”
For more information on the Community of Automotive Professionals, go to capjoin.org.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.