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VU Automotive Technology students benefit from Ruxer Ford donation

VINCENNES, Ind. - Students majoring in Automotive Technology will graduate from Vincennes University fully prepared for today’s job market thanks to a major donation by brothers Nick and Phil Abbett, who serve respectively as president and vice president of Ruxer Ford Lincoln of Jasper, Indiana.

“I owe a lot to the VU Automotive program,” said Phil Abbett. “It is nice that to be in a position now that we can bring this full circle and try to give the program a boost, because it has given me a lot. It has contributed to my successes and those of a lot of other people, too.”

This semester the brothers presented tools and parts to VU’s Automotive Technology Department, including two new tool box sets - one designated for students majoring in Automotive Technology and the other for Collision Repair Technology majors.  Two vehicle doors and additional parts for training were also part of the donation.

The equipment donation is boosted by a financial contribution from the Abbetts to help students purchase books and materials to pursue their majors.

In addition to supporting current students, the goal is also to attract more students to consider automotive trades as a career choice while also supporting VU programs that have been valuable to Ruxer Ford Lincoln’s ability to staff its growing business.

“These Snap-On toolboxes and tools are each valued at about $15,000. Along with these tools there will be credit issued at our bookstore to purchase textbooks for one school year, thanks to their donation,” said Ty Freed, coordinator of the Automotive/Collision Repair program.

“Ruxer Ford Lincoln in Jasper has worked with us for a number of years, helping our Automotive and Collision Repair programs, and these efforts are appreciated. The idea is to help students who would otherwise not enter the program because of their inability to buy tools. This will help a lot of students,” Freed said.  

For graduates of these programs, jobs are plentiful and offer salaries ranging from $50,000 to $60,000 a year, according to Abbett.

“I believe in this program whole heartedly. We hire VU graduates out of this program and we do not see any reason why that won’t continue. It’s a great program and I’m excited for these students. We are in this for the long haul,” Abbett said.

It is his hope that other vehicle dealers and automotive repair shops in the area will also make donations similar to that made by Ruxer Ford Lincoln.

“One of the obstacles for students entering the program is the cost of tools, so we needed someone to step up and start this process. What I’m hoping will happen is this will start a domino effect, and that everyone who needs technicians will also step up and give back to this school. We need to try to find our next generation of technicians now because it is getting harder to find them,” Abbett said.

More information about VU programs in Automotive Technology and Collision Repair Technology, as well as scholarship opportunities, are available by contacting the VU Admissions Office, www.vinu.edu
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