Scholarship paves way to a government fleet career
Students entering Palm Beach State College’s automotive and diesel programs often picture themselves as technicians working for car or truck dealerships, independent shops and the like. Most don’t know about a different career path that’s one of the best out there. That is until now.
The Florida Association of Governmental Fleet Administrators is bringing attention to the wide range of technician careers tied to government vehicle operations. By offering scholarships, FLAGFA hopes to encourage students to consider careers repairing and maintaining the vehicles used by police, emergency medical services, fire departments and other government entities.
As one of the organization’s first awardees, Palm Beach State received a $5,000 scholarship on Sept. 24 at FLAGFA’s 2015 Fall Conference in St. Pete Beach, Fl. The scholarship will cover nearly 100 percent of the qualifying student’s cost for the 18-month automotive or diesel program. Even a low tuition like PBSC’s can be a burden, so this scholarship will keep its worthy recipient in school and on track to achieving his or her goal of becoming a qualified technician.
“The largest challenge facing government fleet operations is finding competent technicians trained on the newest technologies and diagnostic tools used to repair today’s cars, trucks and equipment,” says Tim Calhoun, FLAGFA president and fleet director for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. “This scholarship is one of the steps we are taking to develop the next generation of government fleet technicians who will enjoy satisfying careers for many years to come.”
The FLAGFA Board targeted ASE/NATEF-accredited programs to establish these scholarships. Palm Beach State’s Automotive Service Technology and Diesel Technology programs are ASE/NATEF-accredited, having met rigorous national standards. ASE, the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, is the industry’s leading certifier of automotive and diesel professionals. ASE also offers accreditation for training programs recommended by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation. Calhoun’s familiarity with PBSC’s programs stems from his volunteer service on the College’s NATEF advisory committee.
“Now students will know about the good jobs in government fleets,” say Eligio Marquez, director of PBSC’s automotive and diesel programs. “Our most sincere thanks go to the members and directors of FLAGFA for awarding us this scholarship to help support a future automotive or diesel technician.”
FLAGFA is the oldest and largest association of local government fleet management professionals in the U.S., representing most cities, counties and state agencies in Florida. Prior to graduation, the scholarship recipient will attend the next FLAGFA Conference. What better graduation gift could there be than the opportunity to meet government fleet managers from across the state—the very professionals who can open the doors to this rewarding career.