The distributor of industrial supplies and manufacturing equipment will hit the social media airwaves to promote the skilled trades, including a live LinkedIn discussion and a Facebook contest.
Manufacturing and the skilled trades have a symbiotic relationship. Just as manufacturers face a serious labor pool shortage because the influx of younger generations interested in manufacturing has dwindled, the skilled trades, including construction, HVAC and welding, have witnessed a similar shortfall of workers as older generations of skilled laborers retire.
So just as manufacturers are gearing up for Manufacturing Day on Oct. 5 to promote awareness of manufacturing, W.W. Grainger, the broad line distributor of industrial and manufacturing equipment and products, today named October “Skilled Trades Awareness Month” to celebrate and raise the visibility of the skilled trades throughout the month.
To kick off Skilled Trades Awareness Month, Grainger has announced the 2012 recipients of its Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program. This year, Grainger is offering 200 scholarships to students at community colleges throughout the U.S. The full list of students can be found here. (More on Tools for Tomorrow can be seen in a related article at IMT sister publication Machining Journal.)
“We are committed to making the training and advancement of skilled trades a priority. Over the past six years, we have expanded Tools for Tomorrow to include more schools and more students, and we expect that to continue,” said Jim Ryan, the company’s president and CEO. “Grainger is committed to serving the men and women who keep our businesses and communities running. We are honored to present this year’s scholarships to so many talented and bright students who will make a difference in our communities through a skilled trade.”
Grainger will celebrate Skilled Trades Awareness Month through social media activities. On Oct. 18, a live discussion on the skilled trades will be held at the company’s Skilled Trades Awareness Forum group on LinkedIn from noon to 1 PM ET. On Facebook, Grainger will launch the “Industry Innovators” contest on Oct. 15, when both past and current Tools for Tomorrow scholarship winners can qualify to attend the company’s annual customer event in Orlando.
The LinkedIn discussion will feature industry experts who will host a dialogue in an effort to connect students, businesses, employers, skilled trade professionals and the general public. Grainger’s Skilled Trades Awareness Forum on LinkedIn has more details on the event.
In the Facebook contest, students can submit short essays about their skilled trade career paths and the innovative impact they have made within their communities to the Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program Facebook page for a chance to be one of five students selected to attend the Grainger customer event.
“As a country, we need to take a fresh look at skilled-trades jobs, including those within the manufacturing sector,” Ryan told IMT.