2015 VocEd Scholarship Recipient

Matthew Antunez, 2015 Vocational Educational Scholarship Recipient


Del Mar, CA …    In today’s “digital industrial” world of smart devices and robotics, with self-driving cars on the horizon, Don Diego Scholarship Foundation’s Vocational Education (Voc Ed) scholarships address a need that may appear surprising: skilled manufacturing and technician jobs. Why? Because human beings are needed to build the machines and write the code that enables them to operate.

Although there are five million fewer U.S. factory jobs today than in 2000, there is a lack of workers with the skills required to handle tasks in new automated factories. As revealed in a recent national manufacturing survey, this shortage is projected to get worse, with two million manufacturing jobs left unfilled over the next ten years.

This shortage presents a wonderful opportunity for workers who acquire needed skills, meaning that Don Diego’s Voc Ed scholarship can open the door to good-paying jobs.

At the beginning of each calendar year, the Foundation offers $44,000 in scholarships to 14 outstanding San Diego County high school seniors who have participated in the San Diego County Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Two of the scholarships, at $2,500 each, are earmarked for students who intend to pursue a vocational education curriculum at a community college or accredited trade school, with the goal of obtaining an AA/AS degree or certificate. The scholarship covers most of the costs of attending a community college for two years.

A two-year degree can be the gateway to a lucrative career in an array of fields, from machinists and computer technicians to dental hygienists, cosmetologists, medical techs, web developers and more.

Directing people to the website at dondiegoscholarship.org, Don Diego’s Executive Director Chana Mannen states, “We encourage students who may apply for future Voc Ed and four-year college scholarships to begin the process of researching and fulfilling eligibility now so they will be qualified to apply in their senior year. In this new digital industrial age, time-honored hard work and perseverance are still the keys to success. The early bird still gets the worm.”

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984. Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded approximately $797,000 in scholarships to 177 students and in agriculture education grants. Information on Don Diego’s history and the Foundation’s current programs and donation opportunities is at dondiegoscholarship.org and www.facebook.com/DonDiegoScholarship.