Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) students Jacob Laprad, 20, of Easthampton, and Robert Henley Robinson, 19, of West Springfield, were each recently awarded a $2,000 scholarship by Grainger, a local distributor of facilities maintenance supplies.
Laprad and Robinson are just two of 200 students at 100 community colleges in the U.S. to receive the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship this year. Upon graduation, Laprad and Robinson also will receive a customized Westward® toolkit from Grainger.
"Opportunities in the skilled trades are growing and changing faster than most people realize," said John Duffy, manager of Grainger's branch in Springfield, Mass. "The jobs available today and in the future offer exciting, long-term career opportunities. We are proud to support these students and our local technical and community colleges. Together we can elevate awareness about the importance and opportunities in the industrial-trade professions."
Grainger recognizes that community colleges are well-suited to address the lack of well-trained, skilled and certified workers facing our country today. Partnerships between local businesses and community colleges are critical in making the American economy stronger.
"I was so happy to be selected as a scholarship recipient," said Laprad, who will graduate from STCC with an associate degree in energy systems technology this May. "There are a lot of smart guys in my class, so it was an awesome feeling to be recognized by Grainger."
Robinson echoed the sentiments, adding that the scholarship money and tool kit will be incredibly helpful in moving forward in his career.
"The scholarship helps me to pay my tuition, helps to mitigate the costs, which will really help me out in the long run," said Robinson. "And the HVAC program here at STCC is a great program and is in high demand. I believe that I'll be able to get a job almost anywhere when I'm finished here if I just apply myself."
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 in the industrial skilled trades curriculum who have demonstrated drive, commitment and leadership realize their educational and career goals. For the 2012–2013 academic year, one half of the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarships offered are specifically targeted to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in recognition of their service to our country and to support their talents and propensity to pursue careers in the industrial trades.
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