AED Foundation celebrates 25th anniversary, kicks off annual campaign

The construction-equipment distribution industry has come a long way in the 25 years since the AED Foundation was established -- thanks, in part, to the foundation's numerous initiatives to strengthen and improve the industry through the development of industry-specific professional education and workforce-development programs.

November kicked off the foundation's annual campaign, and through the support of investors, the AED Foundation can continue to expand and develop successful initiatives.

The foundation's educational programs include the accreditation of technical colleges, as well as the development of national standards for diesel-technician programs. These standards, which were developed by working closely with those in the industry, indicate the skills that students should have mastered by the time they graduate from an AED-accredited school or program.

“The AED Foundation accredits technical colleges throughout the United States,” said Rebecca Lintow, director of sales and development for the AED Foundation. “We've developed our own set of standards with the assistance of people in our industry, including dealers, manufacturers and schools. These standards ensure that any diesel technician that graduates from one of our accredited schools is ready to automatically work in a dealership because they already have the skill sets needed to actually work in our industry.”

To date, the AED Foundation has accredited nearly 40 programs at schools across the country, with the goal of accrediting even more programs and schools to address the problem of under-representation in parts of the country and meeting the needs of foundation members.

“We've accredited 39 programs at 29 schools – some schools have multiple programs – but the goal is to accredit more schools throughout the United States to meet all of our member needs,” Lintow said. “There are certain pockets of the United States that have better representation than others.”

Investments in the annual campaign are also used to fund studies designed to help the foundation identify areas that have room for improvement.

“Research is another component of the AED Foundation,” Lintow said. “This year, we did a workforce study in partnership with the College of William and Mary to identify where the workforce shortage is in the industry and see if we can develop some ways to fix that. We wanted to know: Are we doing the right things? Are there patterns we're not aware of? Answering questions like these helps the foundation better serve its members and the industry.”

The study from the College of William and Mary will be available at AED’s annual convention in January 2016.

As part of its commitment to industry education, the AED Foundation also recently purchased a new Learning Management System (LMS) that is designed to offer members on-demand access to educational webinars and self-study courses. The new AED Foundation Learning Management System will be available in 2016.

“We have our own management system specifically designed to educate managers within dealerships, such as branch managers, service managers, rental managers, etc.,” Lintow said. “The management system has helpful webinars and self-study courses. Investments in the annual campaign pay for these and other member programs.”

This year, in an effort to encourage investment, the AED Foundation has announced attractive incentives for its investors.

“We have some great incentives for people who decide to invest,” Lintow said. “If someone invests $2,000, they get access to all of the webinars from 2015 through the calendar year of 2016. If they invest $3,000, they get that, plus their company logo on 100 career brochures.”

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