students with servco and leeward c c employees
(from left) Servco Vice President and Director of Customer Service Wes Kimura, Servco Technical Training Manager Todd Yee, Joel Flores, Christopher Cummings, Leeward CC Automotive Program Coordinator Milton Ayakawa and Servco Scholarship Coordinator Gene Murata

A Leeward Community College Automotive Technology major has won a 2019 Servco Toyota Technical Education Program (T-TEP) Scholarship.

Leeward student Christopher Cummings will receive a scholarship, a $2,000 tool kit and part-time employment with Toyota Hawaii as a technician apprentice. Automotive students Noel Hirata and Joel Flores were finalists for the scholarship.

The highly competitive scholarship program requires students to meet a minimum GPA requirement just to qualify to participate. The students then take a Toyota mechanical aptitude assessment and answer questions for a panel of four judges on the selection committee.

T-TEP first started at Honolulu Community College’s Automotive Technology Program in September 1991 and is supported by Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) and Servco. In May 2018, Toyota Hawaii expanded the program, donating more than $80,000 worth of training aids to Leeward CC’s Automotive Technology program in the first year, with additional equipment to be added every year after.

As part of the program, Automotive Technology students at Honolulu CC and Leeward CC are eligible for a T-TEP scholarship, which includes a scholarship toward the student’s automotive AAS degree. The T-TEP Scholarship Program has supported more than 50 students to graduation, with nearly half currently employed with Toyota Hawaii dealerships. In addition, three former graduates are now instructors serving in University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges.

—By Kathleen Cabral