North Branch grad utilizes mechanics’ training program

Thomas Perrault receives a $1,000 scholarship for training.

Thomas Perrault, a North Branch High School graduate, is planning to attend Alexandria Tech’s Diesel Mechanic program in the fall with a $1,000 scholarship. He’s currently employed part-time with Zeigler CAT in Columbus, Minnesota, and is making plans for an apprenticeship with them after his first year of school. 

All of that in one sentence makes it sound easy. The good news is that it is easy by taking advantage of the “Tried and True Small Engines” program through Lakes Center for Youth & Families (LC4YF) in Forest Lake. 

Perrault joined Tried and True Small Engines program in April of 2017 after his parents found out about the program in a local paper and encouraged him to apply. Perrault’s mom Colleen was excited about the opportunity for real, hands-on work with a professional mechanic and knew the partnerships with local businesses would be beneficial.

It turns out Perrault was a perfect fit for Tried and True. He scored beyond expectations on his first standard evaluation. After his first session as a Youth Mechanic Level I (72 hours of shop time), he was offered a higher position as a Youth Mechanic Level III and has been earning a learning stipend since.

Being a local Forest Lake program, it has the opportunity to refer its youth mechanics to Community Scholarship Foundation (CSF). CSF recognizes the need for well-trained citizens. CSF is proud to offer scholarships to students who are interested in technical colleges and plan to enter the trades. 

The best part? CSF also realizes that the bills don’t stop after the first year – Perrault is able to reapply next year.

Interested in learning more about Tried and True Small Engines? Give Jenna a call at 651-464-3685 or visit 

Lakes Center for Youth & Families (LC4YF) exists to stabilize and strengthen families and communities by offering critical support and intervention focused on ensuring the success of youth. Since 1976, LC4YF has given hope and empowerment to more than 40,000 youth and families in the region. To learn about specific activities, visit 

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