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CATA adds to Weinberger scholarships for future technicians

November 15, 2010
Automotive technology students at Carl Schurz High School have become the latest beneficiaries of Chicagoland Dealers Care, a charitable arm of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association. John and Lisa Weinberger of Continental Auto Sports in Hinsdale approached the new-car dealer group to augment the couple’s ongoing generosity and active personal participation in this worthwhile area program.

"We’ve been so very blessed and wanted to find a way to give back to the community in a meaningful and lasting manner," said John Weinberger. "Our thought was since I was a mechanic before becoming a dealer, a program to train young men and women as technicians would be our best avenue of approach.

"Through Jim Butcher of Automotive Youth Education Systems, we identified a program at Schurz High School that was in need of funding. It was a perfect match."

Chicagoland Dealers Care added $1,500 to the Weinberger’s generous contributions. "We congratulate John and Lisa for their support of a curriculum that helps create a path to a life-long career," said John Phelan, chairman of the CATA. "Our dealerships are in constant need of top-flight technicians, and programs like this are an integral part of supplying them."

The Schurz High School ASE-certified automotive technology courses are part of the Automotive Youth Educational Systems that provide internships and partnerships with car dealerships, manufacturers and post-secondary institutions. Managed and taught by Clairene Terry, Schurz is the only high school in Chicago that offers an ASE-Certified automotive program. The school is partnered with Truman College for students wishing to continue their studies for a degree.

"I’d always had a dream to teach an after school program and to establish an automotive academy," said Terry. "The piece of the pie that was missing was monetary support.

"I’m so thankful to the Weinbergers, the school administration and the CATA for their help. Also, we’ve now been granted academy status citywide, which is a great boost for our future."

The Weinberger scholarships will provide $500 each to five students who choose to major in automotive technology or business at the school of their choice. Additionally, the Weinbergers will support one other student with a scholarship of up to $10,000 a year for a maximum of four years.

"This is a program that’s right from John’s heart and it represents who he is," said Lisa Weinberger. "Our goal is to not just fund these students, but to become part of their extended families."

Chicagoland Dealers Care is a part of the CATA’s First Look for Charity Foundation with a mission of building upon the charitable efforts of the group’s new-car dealers in their local communities. Dealers already perform vital support of community charities; the CATA program is designed to enhance that support.