There is no secret that all of us teaching air conditioning are experiencing a boom in enrollment. A frustration that many of these new students share is limited financial resources. Truth be told, that is precisely why they are air conditioning students – they are working to improve their financial fortunes. Sometimes they end up trying to decide whether to buy the required texts, or the required tools. Both can represent a sizeable investment. An unemployed student can find it difficult to afford both. Although the schools are trying to help, most schools have limited resources right now as well. Some major corporations and industry organizations are offering significant scholarships to people studying Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. The ones that I know about are the AHRI Rees Scholarship, the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship, and the Home Depot Trade Scholarship. I am sure there are more. The AHRI Rees Scholarship Foundation awards approximately 15 scholarships of up to $2,000 each to qualified students who are enrolled in an HVACR program at an accredited institution. The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship provides a $2,000 scholarship plus a custom set of tools from Grainger to approximately 100 trade students nationwide. Home Depot is offering $1,000 scholarships to 500 trade students. Home Depot is also going to award the school each scholarship student attends an additional $1,000. One of these scholarships could be the difference between a promising student finishing or having to drop out for financial reasons. Together that is 615 more future trades professionals who do REAL work right here in the USA to build a brighter tomorrow. God bless them.
However, to win a scholarship you must apply. You would be surprised how difficult it can be to get wrench minded students to fill out scholarship applications, write essays, and apply their literary skills for a chance to win a scholarship. I am proud to say that the first Tools For Tomorrow Scholarship recipient at Athens Tech was one of my students, Ricky Byrd (Article). Ricky was a very deserving recipient and he represents my program and our profession well. There were other capable students who chose not to apply because they were required to write a short essay. The folks from Grainger came to my department to award Ricky the scholarship and that changed everyone’s perspective. Think of the scholarship application as practice for seeking employment. To sell yourself to future employers you need to be able to explain in writing and verbally what you can offer that they cannot do without. If you just sit around waiting for the world to discover how brilliant you are, you most likely will be waiting for a long time.
For information on how to apply check out the following links.
If you don’t snag one of these scholarships, don’t despair. Often local organizations have scholarships that are not as well publicized. Check with local contractor associations or local RSES chapters to see if they have any scholarships.