The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) is very proud of all the work its Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF)has accomplished over the last several years. However, we feel that we can do more to assist dealers throughout North America and bring positive attention to the ag equipment industry. Since its inception, the EDF has devoted its time and money to two main causes: Disaster Relief and Workforce Development and we’ve recently experienced an influx of demand on resources in these two areas.
We’re all familiar with the impact natural disasters can have; hurricanes, floods, and wildfires have been in the news a lot over the last several years. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the devastation unless you live it first-hand. The EDF raises money to help dealership employees that are affected. In 2017 we sent over $67,000 to victims of natural disasters. The grant money can be used for temporary housing, food, water and other necessities – whatever it takes to get these individuals and their families back up on their feet and stay in the area to continue to work at the dealership.
The skills gap is another hot topic right now and to do its part, the EDF has doubled down on its Workforce Development initiatives. Following a summit in September 2017 we formed a working group that meets monthly to discuss planned programs, services and tools the industry can use to attract and retain qualified employees. As a result of these conversations we’ve had the opportunity to partner with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and provided $30,000 to their scholarship program which enables teachers to learn Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) that they in turn will teach their students.
In our first year supporting this initiative, we were able to award 32 scholarships to teachers in 15 different states! This is in addition to EDF’s annual scholarship program that awards scholarship money to current and prospective dealership employees who wish to further their career in the agriculture equipment industry. EDF provides a scholarship that is matched by the sponsoring dealership for a wide range of programs including technical school, bachelor’s and graduate degrees as well as certificates and job-specific training. Last year EDF awarded 15 scholarships to students in the U.S. and Canada.
Of course, all of this comes at a price. Unfortunately with 2017’s onslaught of weather events and our active involvement in workforce development, EDF has almost depleted its funds. So we’re asking you for help. We need assistance from industry leaders who wish to show their support for their emplpyees friends and colleagues. You can visit our website right now and make a tax deductible contribution to the Equipment Dealers Foundation. https://www.equipmentdealer.org/contribute-now/. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to us: 636.349.5000