Trade and vocational colleges are not high on the list for funding, usually far behind the private and even state universities and colleges with the well-known names. But these are perhaps the most important pieces of the pipeline for construction trade skill development. Some individuals and foundations realize this and are providing aid.
For example, the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy & Entrepreneurship recently donated $250, 000 to the Williamson College of the Trades. The donation is part of the Foundation’s CEO Prize event which recognizes and honors a living CEO whose work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision, focus, and commitment, producing exceptional shareholder returns over decades.
This year’s prize was awarded to W. Nicholas Howley, Founder and Executive Chairman of TransDigm Group. With the award is a cash donation to the charity of his choice that is aligned with the Singleton Foundation’s mission, in this case Williamson College of the Trades.
Williamson College, a private men’s vocational college in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania, provides a three-year academic and trade education to a deserving student body. The college serves students who are financially challenged and provides them with full scholarships for a tuition-free education, and free room and board. Students experience a highly structured campus environment, meant to prepare them to be top-tier tradesmen. The combination of rigorous instruction and a living-learning community imparts the College’s core values of faith, integrity, diligence, excellence, and service to produce the kind of tradesmen who companies compete to hire.
Williamson emphasizes character development and leadership as an important part of its educational model. At graduation, 96% of their students have jobs in their field. Williamson had over 206 employers from 16 states attending Career Fairs last year to recruit one of 65 seniors. As is often the case, the school turns away applicants due to lack of space. The Singleton donation will help increase their enrollment.
The stated mission of the Singleton Foundation is to inspire entrepreneurship and to make financial competence fun, engaging and accessible to all. Its goal is to help give everyone the financial skills they need to better manage their lives and their businesses. In the Williamson College of the Trades, a 134-year-old school, the Foundation has a good partner.
Williamson graduates earn an Associate in Specialized Technology Degree in one of the following programs: Construction Technology—Carpentry Emphasis; Construction Technology—Electrical Emphasis; Construction Technology—Masonry Emphasis; Landscape Construction and Management; Machine Tool Technology; and Power Plant Technology.
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