The pool of professionals entering construction, heating, air conditioning, welding and other skilled labor-oriented industries is dwindling and the shortfall in the labor market may create an unbridgeable gap as older generations of skilled trade workers retire. Grainger, North America's leading distributor of facilities maintenance products, is committed to helping stem the growing shortage of skilled workers and has named October "Skilled Trades Awareness Month" in an effort to increase the visibility of those who work in the skilled trades and to recognize the significant opportunities that exist within those fields.
Throughout October, Grainger will celebrate the skilled trades through various activities, beginning with the official announcement of the 2013 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program recipients.
"Jobs in the skilled trades are vital to the economic health of local communities. These jobs, and the people who do them, are the lifeblood of industry. The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program empowers future tradespeople to complete their education and helps them start their careers," says Jim Ryan, chairman/president/CEO of Grainger. "Grainger's vision is to promote an environment that elevates awareness about the need and importance of these jobs. Skilled Trades Awareness Month is another way by which we are trying to engage people in the conversation."
To kick off Skilled Trade Awareness Month, Grainger has announced the 2012 scholarship recipients for its Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program. This year, Grainger is offering 200 scholarships to students at community colleges throughout the U.S. The full list of students can be found here.
Grainger, in conjunction with the American Assn. of Community Colleges (AACC), has launched the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program in 2006. The program is designed to help students pursuing degrees in the industrial skilled trades who have demonstrated drive, commitment and leadership to realize their educational and career goals. For the 2012-2013 academic year, one-half of the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarships offered are specifically targeted to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in recognition of their service to our country and to support their talents and propensity to pursue careers in the industrial trades.
"Grainger is committed to serving the men and women who keep our businesses and communities running," said Ryan. "We are honored to present this year's scholarships to so many talented and bright students who will make a difference in our communities through a skilled trade."
In addition to naming the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship recipients, Grainger will celebrate Skilled Trades Awareness Month through social media activities that include:
• Hosting a "live" skilled trades discussion via "Grainger's Skilled Trades Awareness Forum" group on LinkedIn on Thurs., Oct. 18 from 11:00 a.m. to noon CDT. The discussion will feature industry experts who will host a dialogue in an effort to connect students, businesses, employers, skilled trade professionals and the general public and address the issues that are facing the skilled trades today. For more event details and join the conversation, visit the Grainger's Skilled Trades Awareness Forum on LinkedIn.
• Launching an "Industry Innovators" Facebook contest October 15 in which Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program recipients, both past and present, will have the opportunity to qualify to attend Grainger's annual customer event in Orlando, FL. Students can submit short essays about their skilled trade career path and the innovative impact they have made within their community via the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program Facebook page for a chance to be one of five students selected to attend. For more details and full contest rules visit the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program Facebook page.
To find more information about the topic of skilled labor and Grainger's technical education programs, visit www.grainger.com/teched.
Source: W.W. Grainger Inc.