Skills Support

AriensCo has a long history of supporting education in a variety of different ways. Whether through the Ariens Foundation, the AriensCo apprenticeship programs or the Ariens Service School, the company continually invests in the people and skills that will come to define its future.

Thousands of students each year count on SkillsUSA to help them prepare for careers in technical professions. The organization serves more than 395,000 students and instructors, offering education, guidance and competitions. Its National Leadership and Skills Conference is an annual event that has attracted esteemed guest speakers, including Ronald Reagan, Chuck Yeager, Mary Lou Retton and Mike Rowe.

AriensCo is a proud partner and sponsor of SkillsUSA — and the consortium of some 600 companies and trade groups it represents. For the last few years, AriensCo has been working with SkillsUSA to help provide technical training and competitive events for students seeking careers in the trades.

“Promoting trade education for youth who are either in high school or in post-secondary school who seek to work in the technical field is an important concept for AriensCo and our chairman and CEO, Dan Ariens,” said Barbara Neumann, director of customer support and training at AriensCo. “SkillsUSA is a great organization to help guide students that are not necessarily going to college and want to continue with a trades education.”

Learning by competing

Experts say there are 30 million skilled jobs in the U.S. that pay an average of $55,000 and don’t require a  bachelor’s degree. Many of these jobs can be found in the outdoor power equipment and landscaping  industries. While the Ariens Foundation is providing scholarships for students who do want to study at a college or university, it’s also helping students who choose to start their careers directly after high school through apprenticeships and through the programming that SkillsUSA provides.

AriensCo has provided a variety of support over the years to SkillsUSA, including sponsorships and helping to organize technical skills contests at national events. The company partners with Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin, to help conceptualize and formalize the educational rigor for these competitive events.

In 2018 and 2019, AriensCo’s RapidCare training team developed and facilitated a skills test for students at the SkillsUSA: Champions at Work competition in Madison, Wisconsin, which focused on Ariens snow throwers. The competition involved a hands-on test and a written quiz. Awards were given to the top three  students. The winners then moved on to national contests representing Wisconsin.

“We intentionally break the snow machines, and students have a 20-minute timeframe to fix them,” Neumann explained. “But SkillsUSA is not just focused on their technical skills and their ability to be able to perform repairs. It’s also focusing on their interpersonal skills. Are they asking questions? How are they  interacting with the test facilitators and instructors? These are all important skills to learn for a successful trades career.”

Similarly, for several years AriensCo has been a sponsor of the GIE+EXPO trade show in Louisville, Kentucky, where SkillsUSA national winners attend and perform demos for visitors to the show. It’s a great opportunity to further promote skills in trade careers and gives other would-be students a chance to see what those careers might look like.

“We have participated in the event for the last two years and look forward to continuing this partnership in future years,” Neumann said. “It’s very rewarding to know that we play a small part in helping a student develop future skills that can lead to a stable and fulfilling career.”

By Jen Staudinger

11/30/2020 | Skills Support

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