The Car Outlet awards first "Driving Success" scholarships in Latino community

Updated 9/3/2013 4:45 PM
  • Group of scolarship awardees with Charles Serlin and Leslie VanderMeulen, Car Outlet at recognition luncheon on August 15, 2013

    Group of scolarship awardees with Charles Serlin and Leslie VanderMeulen, Car Outlet at recognition luncheon on August 15, 2013

The Car Outlet has announced the 10 students who will each receive $1,500 scholarships towards their education related expenses during their first year of college or university in the 2013-2014 academic year.

The students were selected from a large pool of applicants from across the region and were chosen based on: GPA, letters of recommendation and a personal essay describing the role that transportation plays in creating a pathway to financial success and independence.

Students essays described the real life challenges posed by not having access to reliable transportation and the very real role that a vehicle plays in helping families - their own families - get to work and keep their jobs.

"When I learned about the scholarship, I was really excited since I knew I could meet the requirements, I definitely need the financial help and my own families story with transportation is a good example of how important it is to your financial success," said scholarship winner Israel Muñoz. "Throughout my childhood, I watched my father work multiple jobs in the city, barely making enough to make ends meet. Finally, when I was 10 years old, my father managed to buy a van at a used-car dealership. Because of this van, my father managed to get a better-paying construction job with a small company outside the city. Without that van, maintaining that job would have been impossible. This life experience represents the true value of reliable cost-effective transportation, especially for families like mine. It grants more than the ability to move from place to place, it makes the difference between struggle and possibility."

Israel will be attending the Fordham University in New York this fall and pursuing a degree in International Politics and Economics.

The Car Outlet, a Chicago-based company, has been a pillar of car services in the Latino community for over 13 years and has always been dedicated supporting the communities in which they do business.

"We know from our experience as business owners serving Latino families over the years that there is a very real need for two key tools in the community: access to reliable transportation and opportunities to pursue higher education," said Charles Serlin, Chief Operating Officer at the Car Outlet. "By creating the Car Outlet Driving Success Scholarship program, we believe we are further supporting the dreams of so many Latino families in the greater Chicagoland region while creating awareness for the correlation between having a car and attaining individual success."

A portion of the application process asked students to describe in essay form the role that access to adequate transportation has played in their life. Research on the factors affecting immigrant earnings and job access led by the University of California, Los Angeles found that having access to a car increases the likelihood of being employed in the past year by two times. Similarly, the Brookings Institution has reported that only one-quarter of low-income jobs in the nation's metropolitan areas are accessible by public transportation and that workers in low-income urban communities across the country can access only about 22 percent of metropolitan jobs in low- and middle-skill industries due to lack of access to transportation. These findings point directly at the need for reliable transportation as a pathway to individual success and potentially an exit to poverty.

The scholarship program will continue for the next academic year, and applications will be accepted beginning December 2013 at

The Car Outlet is a full service Chicago-based used car company offering quality and warrantied vehicles, insurance, financing and service to its customer base. Established in 2000 and founded on the mission to provide customers with the best vehicle for the most attainable payment and to serve them with high quality, complete service and attention to detail, the Car Outlet is a trusted resource in the Hispanic community.