Most of us will recall our shop classes from junior high and high school fondly. Designing, building, and problem-solving with both head and hands… There is lasting value in these learning experiences. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the demise of vocational training in our schools. One philanthropic movement aims to reverse the trend.
Experiential learning is largely being supplanted by standardized testing, which too often only rewards memorization and other basic intellectual skills. Collectors Foundation began righting the ship in 2005, and has awarded over $2.6 million to educational institutions, non-profits, and museums that use the allure of old cars and boats to provide young people with shop class experiences.
Initiated by Hagerty Collector Car and Boat Insurance, the Foundation has grown through the support of thousands of enthusiasts who want to help “Preserve the Past and Build the Future”. It has awarded grants in 29 states and three Canadian Provinces. Here are just a few of the great stories that have arisen from the movement.
Mabank High School: Mabank, Texas
Collectors Foundation awarded Mabank High School $7,500 to purchase and install a paint booth in its Career and Technical Department. The support helps to expand the school’s current restoration program and assists students in obtaining industry credentials. One of the first projects through the booth was a 1961 Willys Jeep Wagon.
Cal Poly Motor Car Assocation: San Luis Obispo, California
Founded in 2010, The Cal Poly Motor Car Association is a student club that aims to share passion for fine motor cars, establish relationships with local and national automotive entities, and explore industry career opportunities. Collectors Foundation awarded the club a $9,373 grant to assist with its “Electric Porsche Project”. Students are converting a 1977 Porsche 911 S Targa to a fully-electric powertrain, and hope to compete in both concours events, and races that feature sustainable automotive technology.
College for Creative Studies: Detroit, Michigan
As part of its mission to “Build the Future”, Collectors Foundation has awarded $100,000 in scholarships to the Transportation Design program at the College for Creative Studies. The program provides students with the intensive technical and creative training they need to thrive in the transportation industry. Career paths for students are varied, and not limited to the automotive realm. Alumni have gone on to contribute in aerospace, marine, mass transit design, and more.
Keeping vocational education accessible is essential to ensuring the skilled trades that helped build our economy continue to grow and evolve. Collectors Foundation is working hard to see that hands-on, experiential learning remains an option for future generations.
Have fun in your garage!