Several trades have seen a shortage of workers in recent years, including the automotive industry, which has seen fewer proficient mechanics, service writers, bodywork specialists, and more, according to Columbus State Community College. This, in turn, has also impacted maintenance shops in the fleet industry.
This shortage has served as a major drive for a new non-profit’s goal of providing scholarships for students interested in joining trade schools or community colleges. The non-profit, the Hourglass Foundation, is supporting the education of young adults nationwide via scholarships, which are funded in part through vehicle donations.
“We feel that there is a disconnect and underserved market for high school seniors who wish to attend community colleges or trade schools (CC/TS),” according to the foundation. “This disconnect comes from the perception of what a community college or trade school represents. The perception seems to be that any student wishing to attend college should attend a four-year university. When in reality, the community college is a valuable alternative for further education and a means where a student, who has identified certain curriculum, to attend, get a streamlined education and can enter the marketplace with skills to add value to their profession. This is certainly true in our industry.”
What is the Hourglass Foundation
The Hourglass Foundation is the non-profit, philanthropic division of Hourglass Management Corporation, which is an asset management company representing a portfolio of businesses in vehicle remarketing and automotive finance industries.
The foundation, which was co-founded by Ron Shoemaker and Chad Shoemaker, also aims to help fund scholarships for students interested in pursuing other fields, including the HVAC industry, carpentry, plumbing, etc.
“In the automotive business, there’s a lack of mechanics as well as other professional tradesmen, for dealerships and auctions” said Shoemaker. “So with these scholarships they can go get the education through a two-year community college or trade school that, as soon as they graduate, there are opportunities in the industry to go to work.”
The Hourglass Foundation also plans to offer additional programs that will help those who graduate from a CC/TS to find transportation and housing (for those who need it) so they can get to and from their jobs.
The non-profit partnered with the Columbus Foundation, a top 10 foundation in the United States that assists individuals and corporations with effective philanthropy nationally, where it established its “Axles for Hope” fund. The fund specializes in remarketing vehicle donations, but also accepts monetary donations.
“With ‘Axles for Hope’ one of the things we’re going to do is approach the fleet leaders of the industry, whether it’s through fleet managers, CFOs, CEOs, for vehicle donations for the Hourglass Foundation,” he said. “One of our main emphases will be to get vehicle donations to remarket them, and turn them into cash to present as scholarships.”
Established in 2017, the Hourglass Foundation’s mission statement is: “Empowering young adults to achieve their dreams in the face of financial adversity.”
The Hourglass Foundation was established by the Shoemaker’s after establishing close ties with a former member of the Columbus Foundation. “Our vision is to start with opening a ‘Donor Advised Fund’ with The Columbus Foundation and then duplicating this regionally across the country,” he said.
Establishing the connection coincided with Shoemaker’s drive to give back to the auto industry.
“Personally, I have been blessed my entire life and many of the blessings have come from my involvement in the automotive and corporate fleet world. I’m at a point in my life where I want to give back in a big way and we want to give back to our industry and to our youth, who are in an underserved market,” he said.
“While our initial efforts will be to acquire corporate fleet vehicles, remarket them, then offer scholarships. We are also looking for others that have a passion for giving back and paying forward. Please join us to help our youth who are striving to achieve their goals.”
For more information please visit Thehourglassfoundation.org.