WNC’s Pennington Foundation CTE Scholarship lifts financial barriers, enables students to focus on education

Courtesy Steve Yingling, Western Nevada College

The William N. Pennington Foundation Career and Technical Education Scholarship provides students at Western Nevada College with the opportunity to pursue meaningful careers in a variety of in-demand fields such as welding, automotive, healthcare and manufacturing. At the same time, the scholarship supports the well-being of the local community by providing employers with a skilled workforce.

For the scholarship recipients, it’s an opportunity to redefine their professional careers and transform their lives by learning new skills to obtain meaningful employment in Northern Nevada. 

That’s certainly been the case for Joshua Schaffer, who is completing his military service in the United States Navy and is seeking a new career. Through the Navy’s SkillBridge program, Schaffer is able to attend WNC and explore a new career before separating from the military. However, as a participant in the SkillBridge program, he forfeits tuition assistance from the military. Fortunately for Schaffer, the Pennington Scholarship has made it possible for him to pursue a firefighting career as part of WNC’s new fire science program. 


“This program has taught me the fundamentals of the fire department and has provided me with a launching pad for the fire industry,” Schaffer said. “Furthermore, and most importantly, this program has eased my stress levels during this transition process from military to civilian life. If it wasn’t for the Pennington Scholarship, I would not have been able to enroll in these classes and discover this new career opportunity.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to the Pennington Foundation. If it wasn’t for this scholarship, I would undoubtedly be stressed to the max and would never have had the opportunity to learn more about this career field. Thank you, William N. Pennington Foundation!”           For Uwe Kleinhempel, the generosity of the scholarship has enabled him to focus on learning his new career pathway in advanced manufacturing instead of trying to juggle employment during his education.         

“I am grateful for the Pennington Scholarship and the sponsors’ incredible generosity,” Kleinhempel said. “Having this scholarship means a lot to me. It has enabled me to pursue my college education in paying my educational expenses, and it will allow me to concentrate more of my time on studying.”

William N. Pennington’s investment in students has also opened Kleinhempel’s eyes about paying this goodwill forward in the future.

“I thank them for their kindness and support in enabling this opportunity! I promise to study hard and give back to others, possibly providing a scholarship for future students like myself,” he said.

To be considered for the scholarship, individuals need to show financial need and a willingness to improve their careers, aspire for a job promotion or train for a new profession.

Because of the generosity of the William N. Pennington Foundation, Western Nevada College is able to offer scholarship funding to students to pursue meaningful careers in fields such as computer information technology/cybersecurity, fire science, welding, automotive, machine tool technology, manufacturing, construction, truck driving, phlebotomy, nursing and emergency medical services careers.

Apply for the scholarship at Learn more about what WNC offers academically at or arrange a time to speak with a counselor at 775-445-3267.

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