Grainger Awards Two DCCC Students Tools For Tomorrow Scholarships

Photo of Grainger Scholarship Recipients

Dec. 17, 2013 – Grainger, a local distributor of facilities maintenance supplies, recently awarded two students from Davidson County Community College $2,000 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarships.

Grainger selected DCCC students Christopher Major and Lewis Bowman to receive this year’s award. The duo, both veterans of the United States military, found themselves among other winners from 70 community colleges from across the country. They are the second pair of DCCC students to receive the scholarship since the college began participating in the program. In addition to the scholarships, and pending completion of each student’s respective program, Grainger will also award Major and Bowman their own tool bag and approximately $1,000 worth of Westward tools to get them started in their chosen professions.

“Grainger is investing in the future of industry and communities through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program,” says Henry Edwards, manager of Grainger’s branch in Winston-Salem. “We are proud to partner with DCCC and believe business and community college partnerships are one solution to building a stronger workforce.” 

Many businesses that rely on skilled workers report difficulty finding qualified individuals to fill open jobs. In fact, skilled trades have been the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff for the last three years, according to ManpowerGroup.

In an effort to promote solutions around this issue, in October, Grainger launched an interactive skilled trades Playbook that connects businesses and community colleges in order to boost local workforce development. This resource, developed in conjunction with Skills for America’s Future, serves as a one-stop, how-to guide with tips, best practices and other tools to help businesses and community colleges work together to train and advance workers in the industrial skilled trades.

Bowman, a student in DCCC’s Motorcycle Mechanics program, plans to use his scholarship to start a mobile motorcycle repair and transport service that specializes in transporting motorcycles for veterans, law enforcement officers and firefighters.

“This is the first scholarship I have ever won,” says Bowman. “I was really excited because I was paying for school out of pocket.”

Major, who will soon receive his degree in the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration program was equally appreciative of his scholarship and hopes to one day give back to other DCCC students, noting some of the costs associated with pursuing an education.

“The scholarship really did help,” says Major. “It took care of the cost of my books.”

According to Lori Blevins, director of Admissions and Financial Aid, scholarships like Grainger’s Tools for Tomorrow are critical support pieces that help students achieve their educational goals.

“At least 80 percent of our students apply for some type of assistance,” says Blevins. “About 70 percent of our accepted and attending students receive some type of financial assistance that may include sponsorships from a student’s company or external scholarships. However, the vast majority of it is federal, state and institutional money that our students receive. This scholarship provides tools and funding for students who are in their final year of education to help support them finishing their programs.”

*Editor’s Note: Lori Blevins, director of Admissions and Financial Aid at DCCC (left) and Henry Edwards, manager of Grainger’s Winston-Salem branch (middle) pose with Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship recipients Christopher Major and Lewis Bowman.

About Grainger’s Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program

Many report that part of the challenge in finding trained workers comes from misperceptions of the skilled trades industry. To promote the innovation and importance of careers in the industrial skilled trades, Grainger, in conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), launched the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship program in 2006 to help students in the industrial skilled trades realize their educational and career goals. This year, Grainger will award a Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship to 129 students at 70 community colleges in the U.S., with one-half of the scholarships targeted to U.S. Armed Forces veterans. Upon graduation, each student receives a customized Westward tool-kit from Grainger to jump start their career.

About Davidson County Community College

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully-accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.