Scholarship opportunities for high school seniors pursuing a trade

Meriden’s Cuno Foundation creates scholarship for high school seniors pursuing a trade

MERIDEN – Just as the Meriden Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools are designing a new curriculum and school to assist students, who are exploring a career in a trade, scholarship money has become available to these high school seniors.

Through the Meriden based CUNO Foundation, which has awarded college bound seniors approximately $5 million in scholarships since 1996, a new scholarship, the Frank E. Davella Vocational Trust Fund, was rolled out Thursday morning as one available to graduating students in Meriden, and surrounding towns, who are seeking higher education in a trade. For high school students were not planning on attending college, the Davella Vocational School Fund will offer a one-year scholarship to attend a trade, vocational, or technical school. Funding for the first year of this scholarship sits at $50,000.

“We know that college is not for everyone,” said Dr. Mark Benigni, Superintendent of Meriden Public Schools. “But we also know that there are many paths to career and life, success, and happiness.“

“We need tradesmen, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics, medical technicians,” said John Stanton, the Chairman of the CUNO Foundation Distribution Committee.

To be eligible, students must be:

  • A high school senior
  • A resident of Meriden or surrounding communities planning to enter a one or two year trade school

Scholarships are awarded based on prior academic performance, SAT scores, recommendations from teachers, financial need, and personal interviews to determine each applicant’s motivation, character, ability and potential. Applications for the scholarship money will be available through school guidance counselors beginning in January.

“It will help me a lot because personally school’s not my thing,” said Jesse Flores a Platt High School senior. “I would say I like working a lot more than writing things down on a piece of paper.“

All students attending the press conference said the opportunity to defray the cost of attending a post graduate technical school motivates them even more.

“I want to have my own body shop and mechanic shop,“ said Platt senior Yavier Ramos.

He might have some competition.

“I really like cars,” Maloney High School senior Jose Ayala. “I used to work on cars with my dad all the time. I still do.”

The CUNO Foundation said it’s possible the fund will grow in the future.

“When you go into a trade you need money for tools and stuff like that,” Maloney High School senior Zach Burdacki said. “So having some extra money to get some extra things for your trade is nice.“

“Follow your passion and do what’s going to make you happy every day, what you’re going to look forward to doing every day,” Benigni said to the audience Thursday morning. “But make sure you get the training and support you need to be great at it. It’s that simple.“

The school system is grateful to the CUNO Foundation and its supporters given all of the jobs in trades that are available nationwide.

“This is your opportunity,” said BOE President Rob Kosienski. “Grab it. Take hold of it. Shape it. Make it your own and then you’re going to have some really bright lights and a future ahead of you.“

The manufacturing skills gap in the United States could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs in that sector by 2030, according to a study released in 2021 by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, which is the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).