KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Western Equipment Dealers Assn. (WEDA) formed the Western Equipment Dealers Foundation in 2015 to provide funding for charitable purposes related to the shortage of properly trained technicians for its equipment members. The Foundation’s mission is to continue to support the WEDA Industrial and Farm Equipment Technician Program at OSU Institute of Technology, and to establish a scholarship program for deserving students and member employees interested in pursuing a degree program or continuing education relative to the equipment industry.

Since the establishment of WEDA, the board of directors has made a commitment to focus on education and training of dealership employees as one of its key objectives. One of the long-term goals is to “raise the bar” in terms of skills and abilities of dealership employees, while at the same time assisting members in a variety of ways in the investment they have made in their dealerships and professional operations. The association’s first endeavor was the launch of its training and consulting firm, WEDA Dealer Institute, and today it’s ready to unveil the second major initiative in training and education.

“We are pleased to announce the launch of a new scholarship program available to WEDA dealer members and their employees. Delivered through the Western Equipment Dealers Foundation (WEDF), for the first time we are offering scholarships to assist in the training, re-training or advancement of employees or potential employees of WEDA farm, outdoor power and industrial equipment dealers. Our goal is to help dealers improve and develop the individuals’ business and professional capabilities, to enhance the opportunities for individuals to find employment, or to advance their employment within the industry, and to create a larger pool of qualified, committed, long-term employees for their dealerships.”

Members can visit the association website at www.westerneda.com to find an application and complete information about the scholarship process. Each year the WEDF board of directors will review the applications based on the needs of the industry, and the areas facing the most critical demand, and issue scholarships based on the total funds available for the year.

All members are encouraged to take advantage of this exciting new benefit. The scholarship application deadline for 2017 is Jan. 31.