Impact Stories

First-person stories from people impacted by Ford Fund

Breaking Barriers in Automotive Education: Meet the First Cohort of Ford Auto Tech Scholars

Earlier this year, Ford Fund collaborated with Ford dealers and TechForce Foundation to invest in the dreams of students pursuing automotive careers in the Greater Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix areas. Together, we contributed $1 million in scholarship funding to empower 200 passionate students enrolled in postsecondary auto or auto and diesel technician training programs.

Today, we introduce you to some of the scholarship recipients who are gearing up to start the next step in their automotive journey.

Alston Abts
Alston Abts

Alston Abts, a Lawson State Community College student, reflects on what inspired his interest in automotive technology: "When I was younger, my dad and I would work on his old truck together all the time. As a kid, I didn't understand what I was doing, but I liked helping and learning the things he was teaching me. Today, being an automotive technician is my dream career because I get to do something I love doing and learning about."

For Makenna Enga, a student recipient from UTI-Phoenix, this scholarship means breaking free from traditional career paths. "I am extremely passionate about pursuing a technical education in automotive technology for many reasons. To start with, a pretty obvious one is the lack of women in the industry. No one in my family has studied a trade, but I believe I was made for it."

Lued Zarato, a recipient from UTI-Dallas/Fort Worth, shared his gratitude, "Your support means the world to me and has made a significant impact on my educational journey. With this grant, I am able to pursue my academic and personal goals without any financial burden."

Head shot
Makenna Enga

Oshen Keoho, a student from UTI-Phoenix, expressed his excitement, saying, "Mahalo (thank you) for your generous donation towards my education! The financial assistance you have provided me will be a great help to my family in paying for my education. We are all so grateful!"

The $5,000 need-based scholarship is directly applied to students' school accounts, covering various costs associated with tuition, tools, living expenses, and transportation. However, this program isn't just about dollars and cents; it's about helping a new generation of automotive professionals pursue their dreams. It's also about diversifying the pipeline, breaking barriers and forging new paths to success.

To learn more about Ford's partnership with the TechForce Foundation, please click here.