The Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA) and some of its member organizations awarded $18,000 in scholarships to college students across the Midwest. The MCA of Chicago scholarship program was created to bring awareness to the industry and help students learn more about employment opportunities in mechanical contracting. Out of 100 total applicants, 17 were awarded scholarships.
Jill McCall, Executive Vice President of MCA, laid out the vision for the scholarship program and its role in shaping future growth in this industry. “The scholarship program was created to build awareness among the next generation of leaders. We represent more than 300 union contractors who service and install technologically advanced and energy-efficient heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and process piping systems across the region. In years to come, our goal is to increase our award amounts and bring more attention to the industry.”
According to a March 30, 2020 article in the publication Jobsite, the mechanical contracting industry has maintained a positive outlook despite challenges to recruit and retain talent. “These contractors are in high demand, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts many mechanical specialties like heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and plumbing will have faster employment rates than other occupations from 2018 to 2028.”
MCA is making it a priority to reduce the labor shortage and promote the industry as a viable and lucrative career option. Through the creation and promotion of the scholarship program, as well as collaborations with relevant institutions of higher education, MCA hopes to bring attention to the industry and provide meaningful employment opportunities to the next generation of workers. Since the scholarship program began, MCA and its affiliate members, have awarded over 100 scholarships totaling $100,000 to students looking for careers in the industry.
One scholarship recipient, Annie Jansen, is enrolled in Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana majoring in Construction Management Technology. She applied for the scholarship because she enjoyed the problem-solving side of the industry.
“When I first got involved in the construction industry, I had no interest in the mechanical contracting industry. However, two summers ago I was working for a general contractor in New Jersey, working on a pharmaceutical campus doing lab renovations,”explained Jansen. “As the summer went on, I was enamored about the construction industry and the problem-solving side of it. When that summer job ended, I found a part time job with a local mechanical contractor and for the past year, I have been working for them in a project engineer capacity. I have really enjoyed getting to learn in depth about the systems that keep a building running,” added Jansen.
McCall believes associations like MCA need to do more to educate student advisors about the opportunities this industry has to offer. “It is not enough to just educate students about what construction has to offer. It is also essential to help fund those educations through scholarships, paid internships and more. I want to thank the companies who did their own scholarships and gave MCA the opportunity to be a platform to support this effort.”
For more information about the scholarship, please visit the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA) webpage at https://www.mca.org/scholarships/.