LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Standards of Excellence Academy and Findlay Automotive are congratulating the new graduate class comprised of automotive technology and phlebotomy students.

The Foundation for an Independent Tomorrow’s (FIT), Standards of Excellence Academy, makes advance learning opportunities accessible to Southern Nevada by providing training and certification programs.

The students at the academy are offered a gateway to career advancement in jobs and occupations that are in demand.

This graduation class is especially unique because of the phlebotomy class that has provided training in a critical piece of medical care that is understaffed and often overwhelmed.

During the graduation, Findlay Automotive Group’s CFO, Tyler Corder, shared his experience of when he served as the chairman of the American Red Cross in Southern Nevada. He explains how blood drives were occasionally canceled because of the lack of phlebotomists.

“Five years ago tomorrow was the 1 October. During that time, we used up the entire blood supply in the state. We had people lined up around to donate blood but we didn’t have enough phlebotomists,” said Corder.

The academy was able to see a need locally and help provide resources to better the community. Much like the automotive technology class which has helped address the industry-wide shortage of technicians.

Findlay Automotive employees helped develop the curriculum for the automotive program and have long supported FIT and its mission.

“The program is very intense and we’re really proud of them and we’re proud of the Findlay Automotive Group and the connection we’ve made. It’s what makes the program so unique and so successful is the collaboration with Findlay because of the fact that the students can right from the beginning get hands-on experience,” said the Academy’s founder and CEO, Janet Blumen.

With an increasingly competitive work environment, both the academy and Findlay recognize that it is imperative for individuals to have unique skills and certifications to set them apart.

“The FIT vocational training programs provide students with the skills necessary to get a good paying job to become self-sufficient and to provide for their families. It’s a tremendous program that helps individuals but also helps the community and reduces the need for public assistance. I’m proud to serve on the board for this incredible organization,.” said Findlay Chevrolet’s John Gonzales. “One graduate started as a high school student when I first met him. He was interested in the program and began working for me as a lot attendant before the class.”