Grainger honors veterans through expanded scholarship program

RP news wires

Grainger, North America's leading facilities maintenance supplier, has expanded its Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program for the fifth consecutive year. In the 2010-2011 academic year, Grainger will offer 75 community colleges across the United States two, $2,000 scholarships to award to community college students enrolled in industrial trades programs such as welding, plumbing, automotive and construction. In addition, upon graduation, scholarship recipients will receive a Westward toolkit outfitted for their industrial trade skill.

Grainger has targeted one-third of the awards, 50 scholarships, specifically for veterans in recognition of their service to our country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 there were 22 million veterans over the age of 18 with a significant number likely to enter occupations in installation, maintenance, repair, production and material moving industries.

"Grainger appreciates the contributions veterans have made to our country and their potential for service in the workplace," said Jim Ryan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Grainger. "Industrial skilled trades are vital to keeping our infrastructure sound and our communities strong. The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program empowers future trades people to complete their education and helps them start their careers."

There is a growing mismatch between the jobs that will be created over the next decade and the education and training of our adult workers. New jobs in goods producing industries such as construction and manufacturing "will look nothing like the old ones and will require employees with postsecondary skills and preparation," reports the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, which recently published projections for job growth and training requirements over the next decade.

Grainger, in conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), launched the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program in 2006. The program is designed to help students enrolled in community college industrial skilled trades programs realize their education and career goals. The program works with AACC member colleges across the United States to award students who have demonstrated drive, commitment and leadership. Over the last four years, Grainger has awarded scholarships to more than 200 technical education students at 50 AACC community colleges across the country.

Alejandra Contreras, a 2010 scholarship recipient, offers a case in point. "I am just an ordinary woman, but by setting small goals for myself I am going to change the world," Contreras said. A student in the Water Treatment Program at Red Rocks Community College in Colorado, Contreras leveraged her military training to pursue a related career. "I joined the military in 2008 and became a water treatment specialist. When my training was over, I enrolled at Red Rocks. Eventually, I want to develop my own international development projects for areas that are in dire need of clean drinking water."

AACC president George R. Boggs notes that available jobs in skilled trades will grow significantly as current workers retire. "We need to help students see the potential in these well-paying and in-demand career fields. Community colleges can help guide military veterans and others who need to get back on the job to the right training at an affordable cost."

Visit www.grainger.com for a full list of community colleges participating in the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program.

About Grainger
W.W. Grainger Inc., with 2009 sales of $6.2 billion, is North America's leading broadline supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products with an expanding presence in Asia and Latin America. For more information about Grainger's technical education program, visit www.grainger.com/technicaleducation.

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