The AED Foundation Highlights Accomplishments of Workforce Development Committee, Focuses on Future

Officially established at AED’s Summit in 2019 to address the technician shortage and to develop new ways to tackle the challenges facing the equipment distribution industry, The AED Foundation’s Workforce Development Committee has been busy since its formation delivering for the industry.

“The AED Foundation is working on several initiatives, such as the Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP), aimed at moving the equipment industry forward, and this committee is critical in providing its knowledge and bandwidth to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of our members,” said Jason Blake, executive vice president and COO of The AED Foundation. “Without the support and expertise from committee members, we would not be in the position we are today to best deliver results for the equipment industry.”

2019 proved to be a busy and fruitful inaugural year for the Foundation’s Workforce Development Committee. With the committee’s assistance and guidance, The AED Foundation delivered on several key initiatives:  

- Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP)

- With the U.S. Department of Labor’s release of a final rule for the IRAP, The AED Foundation applied to become a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE) through the program and anticipates getting final approval in the fall.

- Creation of Technicians of the Year Award

- The AED Foundation’s inaugural Technicians of the Year Award was successful in garnering interest and many nominations from AED member companies. Winning technicians from each AED region were formally recognized at the Foundation’s Gala & Live Auction during AED’s Summit in January.

- Perkins Stakeholder Engagement with State Career and Technical Education (CTE) Directors

The AED Foundation worked with AED members to engage with state CTE directors in 49 states to raise awareness about opportunities to address the challenges facing the equipment distribution industry. Perkins is a federal education program in the U.S. that invests in secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs in all 50 states.

“Serving as chairwoman of the Workforce Development Committee is an honor and has allowed me to help support the Foundation’s industry efforts,” said Monica Haught, Human Resources Director for Vermeer Texas-Louisiana. “I’m excited about the work The AED Foundation is doing to support the equipment industry, particularly addressing the technician shortage, and I look forward to continuing to focus on how the industry can adapt and succeed in 2020 and beyond.”

The mission of the committee is to provide leadership and direction to address the critical shortage of skilled professionals in the equipment distribution industry and to strengthen industry engagement to further develop best practices to improve workforce-related challenges. Committee objectives include making recommendations on national workforce issues impacting the industry, acting as a support arm of The AED Foundation during the exploratory phase of the IRAP initiative, identifying ways to engage nontraditional populations in solving the technician shortage, developing new strategies to build a pipeline for the industry’s future workforce, making recommendations to The AED Foundation in honoring the commitment to the Pledge to America’s Workers initiative (which will entail training and retraining 10,000 individuals over the next five years), and making recommendations to the Foundation’s board of directors about ideas for future research reports.

The AED Foundation looks forward to a busy second half of 2020 and sees the Workforce Development Committee as one of the keys to delivering on its objectives and successfully implementing its Vision 2024 initiative.    

“Workforce development has been a passion of mine for over two decades, and I’m excited to be able to offer my expertise and insight to the Foundation’s committee moving forward,” said Mike Grady, business development manager at Almon Inc. and new Workforce Development Committee member. “The AED Foundation is working on several initiatives that are very promising to the future of the equipment distribution industry, and I look forward to helping ensure they’re successful.”   

The AED Foundation’s Workforce Development Committee meets on a quarterly basis. If you’re interested in joining or would like more information, please contact Marty McCormack, The AED Foundation’s associate director of development and workforce, at or 630-642-9108.

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