The Auto Industry Seeks Tech-Savvy, Innovative Individuals

The car industry has made a resolution to move to much more energy efficient cars over the near future. This has created an incredible opportunity for students thinking of pursuing an education ranging anywhere from research and engineering to the technical aspect of the STEM applications.

When the need for fresh blood in the technological facets of the industry was so great, the industry itself has stepped up to create its share of researchers and technicians. These are through scholarships and grants that are all supplemental to the standard federal, state and university plans one can apply for, and they can go a long way towards paying one's tuition.

Probably the biggest player when it comes to engineers and technicians is the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). This professional society has teamed up with a number of major car manufacturers to offer about six different types of scholarships to future car designers and mechanics of the world.

A central scholarship is the Engineering Scholarship Grants. It provides a renewable $1,500 a year to promising STEM students participating in a four-year program in engineering and related automotive degrees. To qualify, an applicant needs a 3.75 minimum grade point average as well as financial records. Another key plan is the TMC/SAE Donald D. Dawson Technical Scholarship. As the title states, this program is for technicians and is also open to two-year degrees. A student should also look at the SAE for his or her upperclassman and post-graduate programs.

As the automotive and STEM careers are heavily male dominated, the Automotive Women's Alliance created its own program. Its scholarship is open to any woman just graduating from high school up to working on her post-graduate degree, just as long as she commits to working in the car industry upon graduating. As long as a woman meets her qualifying criteria, the AWA can award her as much as $2,500 a year.

Another important aspect of the industry is the aftermarket sector. To help produce more qualified technicians in the arena, the Automotive Parts and Service Association of Illinois provides six scholarships of $500 each. Applicants must have a high school degree and be enrolled in a full-time school. They will be chosen on scholastic achievement and financial need. The scholarship is renewable for four years.

There is also the Special Equipment Market Association's (SEMA) Memorial Scholarship. It also targets students interested in pursuing careers in the car aftermarket and related fields. Its requirements include having a 2.5 grade average and having already accumulated 25 credit hours of schooling in an acknowledged trade or vocational school. Its awards are very need based, generally ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 a year.