The Equipment Dealers Foundation Tackles Workforce Development

The Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF), the 501(c)(3) associated with the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA), has been focused on education within the equipment industry since its creation in the 1980s. Until the last few years, that meant providing scholarships to the employees of equipment dealers choosing to further their education and careers. More recently, the EDF begin working with the Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education (CASE) program to provide partial scholarships to teachers that enables them to bring mechanical education back to their classrooms.  In this way EDA is able to reach hundreds, if not thousands of students each year.

Another new initiative is our Workforce Development Summit. In 2017 the EDF hosted its first Summit. We gathered equipment dealers, equipment manufacturers, association executives, people from the education sector and other industry stakeholders to discuss the state of the industry with regard to workforce development and what we could do, collaboratively, to improve it.  We are proud to report that we accomplished two goals that were established at this meeting: (1) develop a toolkit that dealers and manufactures can use to recruit the types of employees they need, and (2) create a resource for students who are interested in working in technical position.  

The Student Resource Database contains information on technical programs, local and national scholarship opportunities and job openings. All of this is available on a state-by-state basis using an interactive map tool. EDA also assisted in the development of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ (AEM’s) Workforce Development Toolkit. We continue to work closely with AEM on the promotion of the toolkit to equipment dealers.  

The second Workforce Development Summit is scheduled for October 16, 2019.  It will be held in Louisville, Ky., in conjunction with the GIE+EXPO. At press time, the event schedule was still being finalized but highlights include: Teaching the Teachers, a presentation by CASE, Other Industries Best Practices, and breakout sessions focused on legislative initiatives and data-driven research to support employers. Anyone interested in attending can register at www.EquipmentDealer.org/WFDSummit.

EDF and EDA are thrilled with what we’ve accomplished over the last two years, but there is more work to do. The #skillsgap is an industrywide problem, and will take continued collaboration to see significant improvements. We look forward to the opportunity to work with dealers, manufacturers and other stakeholders to make an impact in the equipment industry.

Anyone interested in participating in EDA/EDF’s Workforce Development Working Group, please contact Natalie Higgins at nhiggins@equipmentdealer.org

Article provided by the Equipment Dealers Association. For more information, visit www.equipmentdealer.org.

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