After serving two tours in the Persian Gulf with the US Navy as an engine man, Alejandro Coronado was looking for a way to make use of the knowledge he had gained while in service while adding certifications needed at the workplace.
“I was looking for an automotive program to see which one I was going to get the most out of,” says Alejandro. “Honda PACT happened to be the best program that I found due to the certifications that you get at the end of the program, plus you earn an associate’s.”
For the past couple of years, he has been pursuing an Associate’s of Applied Science in Automotive Service Technology through the Honda PACT (Professional Automotive Career Training) program at GateWay Community College.
“GateWay is a good place to learn, the small campus provides an easy environment to learn in,” he says. “Attending GateWay Community College was probably the best decision I have made. With the program being as affordable as it is and the experience was just amazing.”
Alejandro is now considering pursuing a Bachelors of Science at Arizona State University after his graduation at GateWay. For him, the scholarship came in at a good time.
“I had to juggle two jobs and attend class,” Alejandro says. “Thanks to this scholarship, I was able to drop one of my jobs in order to focus on my degree.
Alejandro along with Henry Bermudez, have joined the ranks of GateWay Community College students to receive the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarships.
“Grainger prides itself with being a part of the community,” says Richard Cota, branch manager at Grainger. “People who do technical work keep the country running. We want to be a part of that and help them be successful.”
Grainger has been providing these scholarships since 2006 as part of a national effort to support students and veterans who are studying electronic systems, heating/air conditioning, plumbing, pneumatics, welding, automotive, construction, facilities maintenance and other industrial trades.
In addition to providing a $2,000 scholarship towards their education, the award also provides each student with a customized Westward ® toolkit upon successful completion of the student’s technical education program.
“When I asked my teacher (which tools were included) he just said that I was going to need a truck,” says Henry as he discusses his future plans. “I am going to continue working at Camelback Toyota and will continue going to school and earn my business degree.”
For Alejandro, the scholarship provides a much-needed boost to stand out from a crowd of applicants when looking for employment in this arena.
“Tools aren’t cheap and in my field a lot of jobs require that you have your own tools,” says Alejandro. “This will definitely give me a little boost to where I need to be.”
“I definitely plan on using these tools,” says Alejandro. “This is a craft that you just learn and put it aside. You have to keep doing it.”
The two will be presented with a customized Westward Tool Bag from Grainger and the band Florida Georgia Line band backstage on July 27.