February 23, 2024

LISD TECH Center Students Awarded Auto Tool Grant

Five LISD TECH Center students in the Automotive Services Technology (AST) program recently received the Gary Bettis Tool Box Grant. The grants were presented by the Lenawee County Education Foundation (LCEF).

Shane Kastel (Blissfield), Bennett Francis (Tecumseh), Raymond Stickler (Madison), Andrew Burkeen (Onsted), and John Schroth (Onsted) each received a $1,000 grant to purchase an automotive toolbox and basic tool kit. It is standard practice for automotive service technicians to provide their own tools in the workplace, including hand tools and specialty electrical tools. Tools will be purchased through a partnership with Blissfield Parts, Inc. (a NAPA Auto Parts store with a branch location in Adrian), where students will also receive a discount on any tools they purchase.

The AST program prepares students for automotive service careers, including technicians, mechanics, engineers, and parts specialists. The ever-increasing sophistication of automotive technology and the longevity of vehicles contribute to the growing need for automotive professionals nationwide. Students in this program learn in a shop setting and can earn industry-recognized certifications, including their state mechanic certification and Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications.

“This is a wonderful example of the many career opportunities for local students that don’t require a college degree,” said John Wanke, LCEF Executive Director. “Programs like this allow students to enter the workforce right after high school in a career path with a pressing need for skilled professionals.”

This grant was established anonymously in memory of Gary Bettis, a LISD TECH Center alumnus. Gary was passionate about the Automotive Services Technology program and owned a full-service fuel store and automotive repair shop for more than 50 years. “During Gary’s time at the LISD TECH Center (known as Vo-Tech at that time), students could learn and master most skills in automotive repair and be ready to go to work upon graduation,” said Mark Lafollette, AST Instructor. “Today’s students, while not being able to master all higher-level skills due to complexity and time constraints, are now able to attain accreditation, licensing, and entry-level job skills. Today’s employers are ready and able to provide the additional training and experience needed to bring new employees up to master status.”

The Lenawee County Education Foundation (LCEF) is a recognized 501©3 organization that utilizes community donations to provide financial support for education in Lenawee County, serving as the primary fund development arm of the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD). Through the generosity of its donors, LCEF is able to improve the lives of Lenawee students and their families. While student scholarships represent the largest area of support, LCEF also provides job training grants, teacher grants, and funding for other educational projects.