Each year, SEMA helps students from across the nation pay their way through college with awards from the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. As this year’s application period comes to an end, we highlight last year’s scholarship winners.
The SEMA Scholarship Committee is a group of industry volunteer leaders who share a passion for the advancement of the industry and affording students the opportunity for an education.
Ernie Silvers remembers wanting to be involved with SEMA the very first time he attended the SEMA Show as an exhibitor with Egge Machine Company. Now the CEO and president of Egge Machine, Silvers was overwhelmed with everything he observed during that first Show and knew that he would one day be involved with the association at a deeper level.
The deadline is approaching for the SEMA Memorial Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness program, with applications due Wednesday, April 1. Each year, the scholarship fund gives resources to students pursuing automotive careers in a variety of areas, from accounting to manufacturing. Scholarship awards range from $2,000 to $3,000, with $5,000 going to the top individual. In 2014, 45 students were awarded scholarships, and 17 current employees of SEMA-member companies received $2,000 loan-forgiveness awards.
This past fall, SEMA Education partnered with the automotive technology department at Cypress College for a career workshop, where nearly 200 students had a chance to interact with industry heavy-hitters in a variety of companies and fields that included everything from engineering andmanufacturing to sales and marketing.
The graying of the automotive specialty-equipment market is a theme that is currently receiving attention from SEMA’s Board of Directors, and Chair-Elect Doug Evans is especially passionate about the topic. He believes that there are two important reasons to pull young people into the industry: cultivating a new generation of consumer and ensuring the future success of the market.
The SEMA Show Student Program gives young people a glimpse of the industry as part of the association’s effort to reach out and pull in the next generation of professionals to the specialty-equipment market. Last year’s event boasted record participation by more than 400 attendees from 45 colleges and technical institutions.
Ask professionals across the industry what they need in an employee, and they will give an assortment of answers depending on their niche and role within a company. Some employers look for a certain skill set. Often, this expertise is very specific and, as a result, elusive in the applicant pool. Tray Smith’s mail-order company, H&H Classic Parts, is like many retail businesses in that it depends on a strong sales team. Finding the right fit is not always as easy as it sounds, however.
You’ve mulled it over with management. It’s consistently on the agenda at meetings. And you know that even—especially—small- and medium-sized companies are already reaping huge rewards. In fact, you’ve been contemplating creating a program for months—even years.
But you’ve yet to actually take the next step and start an internship program at your organization.
The 2013 SEMA Show student program brought record participation, with more than 400 students attending from approximately 45 colleges and institutions across North America. The program’s goals are simple: first, to expose the next generation to the opportunities available in the automotive aftermarket; second, to build bridges between educational partners and SEMA; and finally, to allow the students a once-in-a-lifetime experience to connect with industry leaders and influencers.