For the rest of this year, I am going to make a concerted effort, via this blog, to bring some positive news regarding this industry. In truth, I do not have to dig deep.

For instance, it’s great that Grainger has stepped forward in addressing the technician shortage. The facility maintenance supplier recently announced it is increasing its technical education scholarship program from its original nine community colleges to 35 across the country. More students will now have the opportunity to apply and possibly receive money needed to get through a school’s HVACR program.

“The economic health of America depends on the availability of qualified, skilled workers,” said James Ryan, Grainger’s president and CEO. “Grainger is proud to help students complete their technical education through our Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program.”

For those in the dark, Grainger’s program provides funding for students to finish their second year of HVAC classes. Upon graduation, the student is awarded a Westward® tool package, which is a nice gift for a graduate who needs such tools for his/her career.

To date, Grainger has helped 16 students complete their technical education programs as part of this effort.

Students attending one of the 35 participating schools interested in applying for a scholarship should contact the dean of that trade program.

The list of participating schools includes:

• Athens Technical College, Athens, Ga.

• Central Virginia Community College, Lynchburg, Va.

• Cincinnati State and Technical College, Cincinnati

• College of Lake County, Grayslake, Ill.

• Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh

• Community College of Baltimore County, Baltimore

• Community College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas

• Elgin Community College, Elgin, Ill.

• Fletcher Technical Community College, Houma, La.

• Florida Community College, Jacksonville, Fla.

• GateWay Community College, Phoenix

• Gateway Community College, New Haven, Conn.

• Henry Ford Community College, Detroit

• Honolulu Community College, Honolulu

• Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Indianapolis

• Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill.

• Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

• LA Trade Tech, Los Angeles

• Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City, Mo.

• Miami Dade College, Miami

• Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee

• Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minneapolis

• North Lake College, Irving, Texas

• Portland Community College, Portland, Ore.

• Queensborough Community College, Bayside, N.Y.

• Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood, Co.

• Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, Calif.

• Salt Lake Community College, Salt Lake City

• San Jose City College, San Jose, Calif.

• South Seattle Community College, Seattle

• Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, Mass.

• St. Louis Community College, St. Louis

• St. Paul College, Twin Cities, Minn.

• U of Alaska Fairbanks-Tanana, Fairbanks, Alaska

• South Texas College, McAllen, Texas

Kudos to Grainger. Look for more positive news to come.