Upskilling student awarded national scholarship

Chad Holt receiving his check. Published February 28, 2024

At 37-years-old, Chad Holt is a full-time employee who came to College of Lake County as a college student for the first time to gain knowledge to improve his standing at his current job. Paying for college got even easier for him thanks to the Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs scholarship for students pursuing degrees in manufacturing from the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association.

“I sign up for a lot of different magazines that I get at my company, and it helps me learn about a lot of scholarships,” Holt said. “If you can get into school and have some help to take the stress off the financial side, you can focus more on the schoolwork and educational side of things.”

The Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) is a professional organization with more than 2,500 individual and company members working together to improve the metal processing, forming and fabricating industry. Holt was selected one of 30 out of 400 applicants to receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Holt works at World Wide Fitting, a global manufacturer of steel and stainless hydraulic tube and pipe fittings, in Vernon Hills. The technology at the company was starting to advance, and Holt wanted to get ahead. He only experienced onsite training before, and he is now pursuing two associate degrees in automation, robotics and mechatronics and mechanical engineering technology.

“I've been in industry for a long time,” he said. “I have a lot of technical skills, but I didn't have the formal education side. I've connected a lot of dots, and it's really helped me to polish and hone my skills.”

Holt is currently taking classes at the Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Gurnee. Holt was taking classes for a year before the ATC opened, and he has enjoyed the benefits of the new space including advanced equipment.

“Chad Holt, a committed and skilled student in our Automation Robotics Mechatronics program, has reached a remarkable achievement,” said Miguel Mireles, acting dean of the engineering, math and physical sciences division. “This accomplishment reflects his perseverance, dedication, and enthusiasm for engineering and technology. We are profoundly proud and motivated by his pursuit of excellence.”