"In honour of our 40 years of business, we were searching for a way to give back to the community, so we decided to donate to St. Clair College," said Arlen Tool president Steven Lenardon. The company has committed $4,000 a year in scholarships over the next 10 years.
"There's a well-documented need for skilled trades and that type of employee in the industry, and so we're trying to help with that and foster continued employment in this industry," said Lenardon.
Windsor-Essex has the highest concentration of mold and die industry in North America, said Lenardon, so it is very important to support students entering this field.
"We were able to survive the downturn and now we're looking to rebuild again after many years of struggle, and St. Clair College is going to be an important part of that," said Lenardon. "We're hoping to help with that and bridge that gap with this donation."
St. Clair College President Dr. John Strasser said the significant donation will help a lot of students in need who are entering the School of Skilled Trades.
"We're very happy and grateful they chose us for this donation," said Dr. Strasser. "This donation means a lot because it's coming from industry – from people who appreciate what we're trying to do here."
Dr. Strasser presented a plaque to Arlen Tool on behalf of the St. Clair College to show appreciation for the donation. Lenardon, along with Arlen workers Evano Bozzetto and Paul Monforton – who are both St. Clair College Alumni – accepted the honour on campus Dec. 15.
"It's important to get kids interested in the trade and get them going through college," said Bozzetto who has worked at Arlen for 34 years. "So if we can help pay for some of their way, that's perfect. Every little bit helps."
Monforton has worked at Arlen for 30 years and said the donation is not only an investment in St. Clair College students, "it's an investment in our industry's future as well."
Arlen Tool was established in 1974. In their 23,000 square foot facility in Windsor, they provide world class tooling and services to customers in the consumer, industrial and automotive sectors.