Video Tools for Tomorrow
The Big Picture: Grainger works to revitalize the supply of skilled tradespeople in the U.S.
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Intested in the Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program? Locate participating community colleges.
Participating Colleges > (PDF)
“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 American industry.”
– Jim Ryan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Grainger
Video: Grainger Hosts Skilled Labor Roundtable Discussion
Trades in Focus
Round Table Discussion
|Grainger is committed to addressing the skilled labor shortage impacting the industrial trades. Recently, Grainger hosted a technical education roundtable with customers, suppliers, and recipients of the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program to discuss the issue. Grainger has been a partner of the American Association of Community Colleges since 2006 and is also the sponsor of Trades in Focus, an awareness campaign and toolkit aimed to promote the importance and opportunities in the industrial-trade professions and highlight the training and skills community colleges offer.|
As a leading industrial supplies distributor, Grainger supports the increased technical demands in today's industrial workplace by helping address the growing shortage of skilled workers. The shrinking pool of tradesmen entering construction, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, welding and other skilled labor-oriented industries could reach epidemic proportions. Some skilled labor trades jobs are going unfilled, which means critical infrastructure could face neglect and delayed maintenance and repair.
A Concerning Trend
The skills gap between what is needed in the future and what is available today presents a real challenge for industry. According to industry experts and the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce:
- Between 2007 to 2012, Employers could lose $4.7 billion because of skilled labor shortages
- Between 2008 to 2018, the economy will create 47 million jobs: 14 million new, 33 million to replace baby boomers. 64% will require at least some post-secondary education.
- By the year 2012, it is estimated that the United States will be 3 million workers short across all segments of the economy
Opportunities in the skilled trades have grown and changed faster than most people realize. The jobs available now and in the future offer exciting, long-term career opportunities that require advanced problem-solving skills, plus science, technology and math knowledge.
The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® Scholarship Program
To help ensure there are enough trained people for the trades, Grainger is investing in the future of the workforce through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® Scholarship Program (PDF). Our vision is to encourage the training and advancement of the skilled trades a priority.
The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program awards financial assistance for tuition and books to outstanding students earning an associates degree or certificate in the fields of electrical, plumbing, welding, construction, facilities maintenance, machine technology, electronic systems, automotive repair and other industrial programs.
For the 2012 – 2013 academic year, Grainger has offered 100 community colleges across the U.S. two, $2,000 scholarships for students enrolled in an industrial trades program. One-half of the scholarships are earmarked for military veteran students.
In addition to financial support, the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program helps launch students’ professional careers by awarding a customized Westward® Toolkit upon graduation. Each Toolkit includes specialized professional tools for the graduating students’ skilled trade area of expertise.
Working together since 2006, Grainger and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) provided more students access to skilled trades jobs and technical education. Grainger contributed more than $1.5 million in support of technical education in the form of Scholarships, Toolkits, technical education program support and awareness. View a list of community colleges (PDF) currently participating in the scholarship award program.
New Resources for Veterans
On Nov. 11, 2010—Veteran’s Day—Grainger announced that it has targeted one-third of its Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® Scholarships specifically for veterans in recognition of their service to our country.
“Grainger appreciates the contributions veterans have made to our country and their potential for service in the workplace. Industrial skilled trades are vital to keeping our infrastructure sound and our communities strong. The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program empowers future tradespeople to complete their education and helps them start their careers.”
– Jim Ryan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Grainger
In 2009, more than 22 million veterans over the age of 18 were considered likely to enter occupations in installation, maintenance, repair, production and material moving industries.
Military students are excellent candidates for college recruitment and retention. These individuals tend to be:
- Serious, mature and motivated to complete goals.
- Responsible individuals with a proven work ethic.
- Focused on career goals. For many, earning a degree is the pathway towards those goals.
- Disciplined job environments and possess leadership skills.
What Are the Scholarship Program Criteria to Apply?
Contact one of the participating community colleges to apply. Grainger employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to apply. To be eligible, the following criteria must be met:
- Attend one of the selected community colleges (PDF) and be enrolled for at least 12 course credit hours per semester
- Enroll in an industrial skilled trades program such as plumbing, welding, construction, automotive or HVAC/R
- Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
“I have worked in many different plants and know the ins and outs very well. Plant work is my life and I have a lot to offer to an employer.”
– Edward Zugel, 2011 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® Scholarship Recipient,
Joliet Junior College
- American Association of Community Colleges Community College Finder
- Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)
- Department of Education: Career and Technical Education
- Employment Situation of Veterans
- Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
- Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs: The Foundation of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association
Related Technical Education Links
- Building Tomorrow’s Business Today (PDF)
- Grainger Community Relations
- Skills for America’s Future initiative will expand community college-employer partnerships (Plant Services)
- Wanted: Skilled Workforce (SupplyLink Newsletter)
- Casting Skilled Workers in a New Light (SupplyLink Newsletter)
- So You Think You’re Smarter than a Maintenance Technician? (SupplyLink Newsletter)