I received an e-mail recently from Warren Lupson, director of education for AHRI.

It seems applications for the Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation are low. For those not familiar, this foundation was established to assist with the recruitment and competency of future HVACR technicians by awarding scholarships to students who are enrolled in an institutionally accredited school.

To date, the Rees Scholarship Foundation has awarded nearly $52,000 to 26 students between 2003 and 2007. Each year, prior to the spring and fall academic semesters, the foundation awards 10 scholarships in the amount of $2,000 each to qualified students who are enrolled, or plan to enroll, in an HVACR program at an accredited institution. The deadline for the fall 2008 semester scholarship application is July 1. You can apply by visitingwww.ahrinet.org.

Hard to believe, but there is “free” money to be had, but the foundation cannot even get 10 applicants.

I received another e-mail the same day. The writer had two reasons why the industry is having a difficult time getting more to join this field: “Bad pay for a horrible job.”

This person went on to say, “I fear that the HVACR trade is fast becoming another one of those trades that will be done by people that we now see doing our gardening and crop picking. Why? Because our young people do not want to get their hands dirty for a small salary in a job that could disappear tomorrow if the weather so dictates.”

When you get less than 10 applicants for a possible $2,000 scholarship, one begins to wonder.