Nissan donates cars to LCTI’s Auto Technology program

LCTI Auto Technology students check out the interior of an Infiniti QX56 donated to the school by Nissan.

LCTI Auto Technology students check out the interior of an Infiniti QX56 donated to the school by Nissan.

SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. | Nissan North America Inc. representatives on Monday delivered the second of two vehicles the company donated to Lehigh Career & Technical Institute’s Auto Technology program.

Nissan/Infiniti Technical Training Specialist John Buskey and Infiniti Dealer Technical Specialist Michael D. Weatherill arrived just in time to give LCTI’s morning Auto Tech students an opportunity to check out the vehicle – a 2005 Infiniti QX56 valued at $16,554. They delivered a donated 2014 Nissan Versa valued at $9,300 to the school in August.

Buskey, Weatherill and, Darrin Schlegel, a Nissan/Infiniti technical training specialist, reviewed the QX56’s features and specifications with students before discussing what it’s like to work for Nissan and how to thrive in the automotive industry. All three men began their careers as auto technicians.

This marks the first time in more than a decade that a foreign-owned automaker has donated a vehicle to LCTI, so Nissan’s gifts are timely and will serve as excellent teaching tools, according to Auto Tech instructors Michael Bernadyn, Kevin Ferenchak and Rich Sikora.

Most of the program’s vehicles were manufactured by domestic automakers. Adding an Infiniti and a Nissan to the mix means LCTI can offer students a more diversified training experience and better prepare them for the workforce. “We’re getting the latest, greatest technology” with the QX56 and the Versa, Bernadyn says.

Many of his students intern and, ultimately, go to work for car dealerships that sell and service vehicles produced by automakers based outside the U.S. “Foreign cars are just as popular as domestic cars,” Bernadyn says.

Impressed by LCTI students’ consistent and often award-winning contest performances, Weatherill approached Bernadyn last spring in New York at the National Auto-Tech Competition and proposed a vehicle donation. Weatherill and Buskey toured the school’s Auto Tech facililites and gained a deeper understanding of the program’s offerings and needs during delivery of the Nissan. Further impressed by the program and its students, they proposed donating the Infiniti.

Buskey says Nissan is committed to supporting automotive education by donating vehicles to schools that are training the next generation of industry professionals.

“Too many times, schools are dealing with cars that are extremely old and worn out. The new technology isn’t there with those vehicles,” he says. “So, it’s important for us, and any manufacturer, to participate by donating newer vehicles.”

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Media Contact: Precious Petty, Public Relations Coordination, 610-799-1450, pettyp@lcti.org

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