Calgary, Alta — The Western Equipment Dealers Assn. (WEDA) announced that over $150,000 was raised at the WEDA International Dealer Conference for WEDA's Foundations. Funds raised will go toward scholarships to support career and technical education programs for ag equipment technicians.
Recognizing critical labor shortages of properly trained dealership employees, the Canada Equipment Dealers Foundation (CEDF) and the Western Equipment Dealers Foundation (WEDF) were established as the arms-length charitable organizations of the Western Equipment Dealers Assn. Focusing on professional education and workforce development issues specific to the industry, the foundations help to fund educational programs and services for agricultural, industrial and outdoor power equipment dealers across North America.
The CEDF was established in 1998, and since inception it has distributed over $2.5 million in Canada to current and prospective dealership employees, colleges for training programs, scholarships and capital funding. WEDA, and its Canadian predecessor, the Canada West Equipment Dealers Assn., has also provided capital funding to Olds College, Assiniboine Community College, Parkland College and Sask Polytechnic through the CEDF.
Since its inception in 2015, the WEDF has raised more than $110,000 through fundraising events and $70,000 has been spent on scholarships and other programs. “With the addition of last week’s funds this brings us close to $250,000,” said John Schmeiser, CEO, WEDA. “We’re excited to continue to award more scholarships to dealer employees to support career and technical education programs for ag equipment technicians.”
Strategies for the Future
The CEDF and WEDF are thinking big about the future of the industry. The goal is to build a $1 million endowment fund to ensure equipment dealers continue to have the people and the skills to be successful.
“Equipment dealers have struggled in finding qualified candidates to fill open technician positions. The inability to hire skilled technicians has had significant adverse effects on a dealerships business,” said Gail Halderman, president of the CEDF. “Considering the importance of employee skill development, and the rising technical demands facing equipment dealerships, this is a drop in the bucket. As an industry, we can and must do more.”
In addition to the annual golf tournaments, fundraising events included a silent auction and a live auction hosted by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers. These events are all funded through generous private and corporate donations.
For information on ways to give and participate, or about the Canada Equipment Dealers Foundation or the Western Equipment Dealers Foundation please contact John Schmeiser, CEO Western Equipment Dealers Assn., (403) 250-7581.