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The AED Foundation looks back at accomplishments amid COVID-19 outbreak


June 2, 2020
By AED Foundation

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Schaumburg, Ill. – Over the past two months, The AED Foundation (AEDF) was hard at work, providing essential resources for AED members during these unpredictable times. The Foundation offered free content, including webinars and self-study courses that discussed both industry topics and COVID-19 related issues.

“The success of our members and supporters is important to us, and we wanted to offer tools and information to help them weather this global pandemic,” Jason Blake, executive vice president of The AED Foundation, stated.

AED members had access to free e-learning courses. This allowed them to try manager certification tracks free of charge. For those looking to gain an industry certification, a 30 per cent discount was offered to complete the program of their choice, including certifications for the following areas of their dealership; parts, service, branch, sales or rental.

In addition to education, enhancing user experiences played an important role. The Foundation launched a new learning development centre that offers a user-friendly interface that provides access to technical tests, self-study courses, certifications, and live and on-demand webinars, all in one location. The new learning centre can be accessed at www.aedflearning.org.

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AED technician certification tests are essential to AED member schools, students and instructors. Recent quarantines and social distancing created a threat to timely administration of technician certification tests. Due to the pandemic’s ramifications; The AED Foundation identified an opportunity to innovate the future of online learning. The Foundation met this challenge by modifying its testing platform to offer an online proctoring option to both schools and members free of charge to ensure the test’s validity and integrity.

Online-proctoring allowed for timely and accurate benchmarking data, expedient technician certification, and essential tools to increase the pool of qualified technicians entering the workforce while maintaining top industry practices.

During this period, AEDF continued “constructing paths to opportunity” for the industry by accrediting a second heavy equipment program at Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, South Dakota as well as recognizing a high school program at Eaton RESA Learning Center in Charlotte, Michigan. Lake Area Tech’s program becomes the 59th AEDF accredited college program (at 46 schools) and Eaton RESA becomes the sixth high school to earn AEDF recognition. Students within the six high school programs will soon have the opportunity to apply for a Caterpillar Foundation scholarship through a partnership with AEDF, as announced during the 2020 CONEXPO-CON/AGG. The AED Foundation plans on awarding scholarships this fall to 60 students who plan to attend an AEDF accredited college.

Finally, The Foundation released a new industry report titled The Equipment Industry Technician Shortage: Reassessing Causes, Impacts and Policy Recommendations. The report highlights the technician shortage in the equipment industry by providing graphs and data that display the research findings. Download a free copy of the report at bit.ly/AEDF-RR (link is case-sensitive).

Moving forward, The AED Foundation will continue its focus on supporting the equipment distribution industry by creating a steady and strong pipeline for the future through its Vision 2024 initiative. Vision 2024 is The AED Foundation’s plan to address the skills gap and technician shortage that is impacting the industry. Through this initiative, the Foundation is aiming to reach the following goals by the end of 2024: 100 accredited college programs, 50 recognized high school programs, 10,000 skilled technicians entering the workforce, 500 certified managers, and 5,000 certified technicians.