I didn’t earn any scholarships coming out of high school. I could have, perhaps, if I had applied for more of them and spent the hours necessary writing essays and explaining why I deserved them. However, I now wish I had, and I will do my best to encourage those around me to apply for every scholarship under the sun when the time comes.
As anyone who is currently paying off student loan debt can attest, there is an inherit value and importance in scholarships. They are often a tremendous help to a student financially, but they are also an incredible boost to someone’s psyche and personal value. Just imagine the feeling of pride a kid feels when learning he or she has been awarded a scholarship of some kind and that an organization or company deemed them worthy of the honor.
It’s certainly no small feat, and the bevy of scholarship opportunities throughout the HVAC industry are a testament to how critical these programs are for the next generation of HVAC technicians.
We often discuss the shortage of students entering the skilled trades at large, and especially the realm of HVAC. The numbers are known, and they can’t be overlooked, but those within the industry must take steps, however small, to reverse the tide and generate interest in the trades.
Have you considered getting involved in some type of scholarship program? Perhaps that means creating a scholarship opportunity yourself via a partnership with a local trade school or community college. This was the route taken by Goettl Air Conditioning in Tempe, Arizona. The J. Duncan Goodrich Air Conditioning Technology Endowment is a $100,000 scholarship fund established by Goettl Air Conditioning’s managing partner Ken Goodrich in honor of his father at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN).
However, even if something of that scale isn’t financially feasible, maybe you can help spread the word about scholarships already available in the industry. And it can only be beneficial to encourage your own apprentices to apply for scholarship programs.
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association (PHCC) offers the Educational Foundation Scholarship Program. In 2016, up to 39 scholarships totaling $85,000 became available for apprentices or college students pursuing a course of study directly related to the plumbing, heating, or cooling industries. Contractors who pay their employees’ costs to attend an apprenticeship program are even encouraged to have their top apprentices apply for these scholarships, and the PHCC notes that every win boosts the confidence of the apprentice and helps to free up additional funds for company apprentice training.
Perhaps its more practical for you to visit local high schools and bolster the argument for a career in HVAC by touting the availability and significance of scholarships.
Shurtape Technology LLC’s Mission: HVAC program is ready-made for eager learners. The program provides three students with HVAC-themed missions that allow them to apply classroom learning in real situations and meetings with industry experts. Participants are awarded $5,000 to help pay for educational expenses and blog about their experiences.
One of the 2015 participants, Daniel Buth, said that being in the program helped him become more confident about the skilled trades he was performing and his chosen career path.
In June, the Clifford H. “Ted” Rees Jr. Scholarship Foundation announced scholarships for 56 students who competed at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in the HVACR category. The gold, silver, and bronze winners in the secondary and post-secondary categories qualified for $2,000, $1,000, and $750 scholarships, respectively. All other competitors received $500 scholarships.
These are just a sample of the scholarships available across the country, but it shows that contractors, manufacturers, and organizations can all get involved and do something to attract this nation’s youth to HVAC.
Whether it’s creating a scholarship, partnering with a local organization, or encouraging students to pursue mechanical trades opportunities; there are no excuses to be made. It’s time to get with the program — a scholarship program.
Publication date: 7/25/2016