A few weeks ago, trustees of the AEMP Foundation met to choose its first scholarship winners. Full disclosure: This editor has served as a trustee since 2004, when Bob Decker took over as chairman of the group. Decker has revitalized the Foundation, and these scholarships are among the first fruits of his leadership.
Decker's passion for preparing the next generation of technicians is matched by the others on the Board, and the combined efforts of this group brought us to Scottsdale, Ariz., where we were reviewing the first class of applicants. The scholarship winners will use the money to pay for classes that will move them along the path toward becoming equipment technicians.
The Foundation also funds AEMP's Technician of the Year program, which includes money for continuing education as one of the prizes awarded each year. These awards are given to technicians currently employed by equipment-owning fleets.
These two Foundation expenditures address the technician shortage in a tangible, far-reaching manner. Both young people training for the career and those currently serving benefit from the resources provided. The Foundation comes by these resources through donations, and the board disburses these resources with a great sense of responsibility: to the industry that contributes and to the recipients who advance their abilities.
We all want technicians to succeed; we all want more young people to choose this career. We all can put individual efforts toward those goals; but it is when united that the industry can make its greatest impact on the technician shortage.
Investigate the AEMP Foundation (aemp.org); read about its mission and purpose; review the scholarship application. Contact any member of the board of trustees to find out what impact this group is having on the technician shortage.
So here's the plug. If you like what you see, consider becoming involved. You can make personal donations, or you can talk to your company's management about some sort of broader involvement. If the Foundation's vision matches yours, support it with a financial contribution.