Four students enrolled at a Queens post-secondary technical institute have been awarded over $20,000 in scholarships this week to pursue careers as automotive technicians.
The scholarships were awarded by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA), which represents over 400 franchise new car dealerships in New York, at its annual charity golf outing at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success.
The recipients from Lincoln Technical Institute Center for Automotive Education — located in Whitestone at 15-30 Petracca Place — include Destanie Greczkowski of Jamaica; German Gonzalez of East Elmhurst; Oliver Zhou of Howard Beach; and Elias Soto of Yonkers. The four students received $5,000 each to further their education and enter the industry, likely at franchise dealerships in the New York area.
“They are the future of our industry and it is looking very bright indeed,” said Mark Schienberg, president of GNYADA. “These students have worked so hard to achieve the level of skills that are critical to be in the auto industry. GYNADA and its member dealers are proud to support the education of so many talented young people at Lincoln Tech.”
The members of GNYADA support nearly 70,000 jobs and generate nearly $50 billion in economic activity. The association works to help and inform consumers about the purchasing and servicing options available to them. It also promotes education and training and creates job opportunities for young people interested in pursuing careers in the automotive business.
Since creating the scholarship program in 2005, GNYADA has raised more than $1 million on behalf of automotive education. Funds are raised at the tournament through the generosity of franchise new car dealers, sponsors and others.
Herman Dawkins, president of Lincoln Tech, said the scholarship for students is life-changing and the opportunities are limitless.
“When I started, anyone with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers could work on a car,” said Dawkins. “It’s not like that anymore. Technology is so advanced that you need to have specialized technical training.”
All of the students plan to pursue careers as auto technicians at new car dealerships in the metro New York area. It is estimated that some 46,000 jobs are opening up in the industry, according to GNYADA.
“I’m so excited to begin my career in an area that I’m truly passionate about,” said Soto. “My particular focus has been in electronics, the high-tech components that are such an integral part of today’s cars. I hope to use that knowledge to build a long-term career at a dealership fixing cars today and into the future.”
Since he was a kid, Gonzalez’s love for cars never dwindled.
“I had cars under my bed, everywhere,” said Gonzalez. “I’m so glad I found this school. My parents are proud of me because I’m really doing what I like.”
“I really feel like this is going to change my life and really enable me to do what I love,” said Zhou. “In New York, there are so many opportunities, so many dealerships, so many jobs and so much opportunity for growth.”
Greczkowski, who is a mother, said the scholarship will not just benefit her career goals, but also her son and family as well.
“I’m really hoping that if my son sees me going after what I want to do, that will encourage him in the future, and he will go after the things he loves,” said Greczkowski.