Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, in partnership with Kobalt Tools, launched a new initiative at the Lowe's of Edgewood in Atlanta.
Johnson kicked off the new program year by taking Jonesboro High School students shopping at Lowe's for donated tools to develop their skills and further their education.
Lowe's is donating Kobalt mechanics' tools as part of its new Toolbox for Education program. This initiative helps the next generation of trade professionals develop skills, and it is being rolled out at high schools across America.
Each high school will receive about $1,000 worth of Kobalt Tools. Lowe's estimates that more than $450,000 in tools will be contributed to the cause nationally throughout the year.
The donated kits each contain more than 300 tools, including a stainless steel tool chest for storage, as well as multiple wrench, socket, and ratchet sets. Because these tools carry a lifetime guarantee, the tools will "pay it forward" from current students to future ones.
"With school budgets being cut throughout the country, anything we can do to help students and schools is worthwhile," Johnson said. "I've seen incredible results created by the Lowe's Toolbox for Education program."
"By providing tools to automotive classrooms nationwide, we are supplying students with the equipment they need to succeed," Johnson continued. "The work they are doing is important, and I'm proud to help get this year's program started with this donation."
Lowe's was just as pleased as Johnson, its driver, to participate in this unique program.
"By working with Kobalt Tools to provide tools to these students, Lowe's is able to help prepare the future of America's skilled work force," said Larry Stone, chairman of the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "With Kobalt tools in their toolbox, students will be better prepared for success when they enter the work force."
Another partner in this venture is SkillsUSA, which has been providing much of the educational component regarding use of the tools.
"SkillsUSA is committed to lifting up students and their instructional programs nationwide," said Timothy Lawrence, SkillsUSA executive director. "We're dedicated to preparing the next generation of workers and leaders in the 21st century work force, and our automotive service programs are vitally important to our nation's future.
"The students, teachers—and ultimately, local employers—who benefit from this generous donation of Kobalt Tools is tremendous."
Last year, Lowe's and Kobalt Tools donated more than $300,000 worth of tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA building and construction trades classes and labs throughout the country for use in their classrooms. This most recent donation coincided with the March 7 Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Johnson practiced well for the upcoming race, finishing seventh in the first practice session. His qualifying lap, however, was a bit more challenging, with Johnson coming in 16th in his Lowe's/Kobalt Tools No. 48 Chevy.
Johnson qualified with a time of 29.081 seconds and at a speed of 190.640 mph. The Lowe's/Kobalt driver qualified just 0.320 seconds behind teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will start on the pole.