When Shane Counts, an apprentice service technician at Titan Machinery d/b/a Titan Rentals in East Helena, Mont., and a student at Helena College of Technology in Helena, heard about the scholarships available from the ARA Foundation and its affiliate programs, he immediately applied. He knew that a scholarship would reduce the student loan burden he already was carrying to pay for school.
Applying paid off. In May, he was awarded an ARA Foundation Vocational/Technical Scholarship for the 2013-2014 school year. “The $1,000 scholarship really offered more than that in help. Because if I had to take out that much in loans, I would have that amount plus interest to pay off, so this scholarship helped a lot,” he says.
Juggling work and school can be challenging, but he believes it is worth it. “Everything that I am learning in school applies directly to my job at Titan Rentals. I really like hydraulics and all the areas. I get to work on the bigger equipment at work. Being around big iron is neat. At Titan Rentals, there is something different every day and a lot of chances to fix items. I can’t wait to graduate in May and become an entry-level service technician here at Titan Rentals,” Counts says.
Matt Jones, a service technician with Jones Equipment Rental in Fort Gratiot, Mich., was in a similar circumstance a few years ago, working at his family’s rental business and going to school at the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima.
Jones, who always liked to work on equipment, wanted to make a career in the equipment rental industry. He chose the University of Northwestern Ohio because the school is known for its mechanical training and, in particular, its high-performance program that includes a lot of fabrication, metal work and welding classes. School, however, was expensive.
To help him defray some of those costs, he applied for scholarships. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, he was awarded ARA Foundation Vocational-Technical Scholarships worth $1,000 each. In 2010, he also received an ARA of Michigan Scholarship worth $500. Those funds not only turned his dream of school into a reality, but also gave him a real boost of confidence.
“It felt good to compete for something and win it. Winning that scholarship made me try a little harder while I was there, too,” says Jones, who is now one of five service technicians at his family’s rental business.
In addition to the mechanical courses, he took business management and customer relations classes. In one of his courses, he had to build a shop and “figure out what kind of money was needed to keep up with overhead costs and more,” he says. Those courses have helped him not only in the shop, but also when he works up front and does sales.
His classes also taught him how to trouble-shoot. “I apply that skill to just about everything I do here at the business,” he says.
Vocation school helped provide Counts and Jones with the skills and confidence they can use to perform their rental jobs successfully. The ARA Foundation and affiliate scholarships — assistance that both Counts and Jones are very grateful they received — helped make that education possible for both of them.
ARA Foundation scholarships offer value beyond financial assistance
Both Shane Counts from Titan Machinery d/b/a Titan Rentals in East Helena, Mont., and Matt Jones from Jones Equipment Rental in Fort Gratiot, Mich., know the value the ARA Foundation and affiliate scholarships can bring. That is why both are so grateful for the scholarship program and encourage others to take advantage of it.
“It’s important to apply as the scholarships can help you pay for your current class load or take another course that you might have decided not to take because it was too expensive,” Jones says.
“The scholarships really help, so I would encourage all to apply,” Counts adds. “As in my case, if you have to take out loans, these scholarships help reduce how much you have to take out as well as the interest you pay on those loans.”
To apply, go to ARAfoundation.com and select “Foundation Scholarship Program.” Scroll down the page and click on the appropriate scholarship application. All materials must be postmarked by March 3, 2014.
For questions, contact Jenni Venema at 800-334-2177, ext. 236, or firstname.lastname@example.org.