BALTIMORE COUNTY – Paul Deans of Gwynn Oaks, an HVAC student, and Abiye Williams of Baltimore, a Civil Engineering Technology student, at the Community College of Baltimore County were each recently awarded a $2,000 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship by Grainger, a local distributor of facilities maintenance supplies.
Deans, who also holds associate degrees in accounting and radiology technology, has owned and operated small video store chains and restaurants over the years. He took advantage of a program for military veterans for go back to school for one year and get into HVAC. So when CCBC accepted his credits, he signed on.
“I think it is great that large corporations such as Grainger are willing to help students to succeed in college,” he said.
Williams is focused on a future where after getting substantial work experience, he hopes to set up his own Engineering consulting firm. This bright future was almost eclipsed when he faced the problem of not being able to pay tuition, books and support his family of four.
“I was on the verge of quitting college,” notes Williams, “when I received the mail informing me that I was selected as a recipient for the Grainger scholarship.” “I literally leaped up in joy, knowing that my dreams and goal of completing my degree program were in near sight.”
“Grainger is investing in the future of industry and communities through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program,” said Iain Maclean, manager of Grainger’s branch in Essex. “We are proud to partner with CCBC and believe business and community college partnerships are one solution to building a stronger workforce.”
Many businesses that rely on skilled workers report difficulty finding qualified individuals to fill open jobs. In fact, skilled trades have been the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff for the last three years, according to Manpower Group.
To help promote solutions around this issue Grainger launched an interactive skilled trades Playbook that connects businesses and community colleges in an effort to boost local workforce development. This resource, developed in conjunction with Skills for America’s Future, serves as a one-stop, how-to guide with tips, best practices and other tools to help businesses and community colleges work together to train and advance workers in the industrial skilled trades. Visit www.skilledtradesplaybook.org to download the full Skilled Trades Playbook and learn more about the skills gap challenge.
According to Greg Case, CCBC coordinator of Construction Management, “CCBC has more than 35 years of experience in educating students for construction management. Our reputation was well known to Grainger and the Baltimore community. These Grainger scholarships help promising students with a financial need complete their career preparation.”
CCBC was one of the 15 original colleges selected by Grainger to participate in the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow ® scholarship program. This year, 200 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarships awarded to 129 students at 70 community colleges in the U.S., with one-half of the scholarships targeted to U.S. Armed Forces veterans. Upon graduation, each student receives a customized Westward® tool-kit from Grainger to jump start their career.