Fluid Power Journal

The Fluid Power Educational Foundation – Evolving with the Needs of the Industry

jean-knowlesThe Fluid Power Educational Foundation (FPEF) has charted a new course focusing on two major missions over the calendar year 2014. Our primary mission is to award scholarships to individual students who have selected fluid power as their primary academic discipline. We are the only fluid power non-profit organization focused on scholarship awards to individuals. Embarking upon this path, our collateral mission was to expand awareness of the FPEF, as well as the discipline of fluid power itself to potential students. This year, we have had a record year in individual donations and scholarship applicants. It shows that both the industry and students are getting the message.

As chair, my call to action for our FPEF trustees, IFPS members, and working professionals was to focus on fundraising in 2014 and to increase awareness. Donations not only support our existing scholarship base, but also solidify a path to our future Foundation goals. Our future goals include: 1) expanding our scholarship awards to those in fluid power who desire continuing education, 2) offering scholarships to departing military, and 3) providing added financial-need scholarships for students seeking fluid power training.

Our goals address the growing issue that the employment climate is seeing more and more retirements and workers exiting our field. Many of these individuals leave with years of tribal knowledge, training, and experience. Our future goals must encourage and reward workers choosing fluid power as their profession. Our close-knit community of fluid power companies faces a scarcity of talent due to competing trades recruiting new and existing talented individuals. Other industries have actively supported students for years. Individuals entering fluid power can use the FPEF scholarships for IFPS first-time memberships offered to departing military personnel and first-time certifying college instructors. The Foundation’s challenge, however, is to encourage and attract new talent.

I’ve had the honor and privilege to be a professional and to grow professionally in the fluid power community. In this journey, I’ve worked with and for some of the finest, best, and brightest people and leading companies. Many of these companies were built on the hard work, determination, sweat equity, pure ambition, and perseverance of dedicated individuals. We could use more of such individuals as we lose increasing numbers of experts. It means our Foundation’s mission becomes exponentially more compelling and necessary.

If you or your company has grown by being a member of this community, I urge you to contribute to educational opportunities. You can do so by encouraging newcomers, help the Foundation increase awareness, and/or make a tax-deductible donation to help fund our scholarships. If you would like more information on our Foundation, our scholarships, or our scholarship-donation opportunities, please contact us at info@fpef.org.

The Foundation has developed packages that include advertising or a choice of individual or corporate scholarship-naming opportunities. To institute a scholarship in honor of your company or an individual, please feel free to contact us.
As we approach the halfway mark in our calendar year, I am extraordinarily pleased at the Foundation’s progress thus far and by all the new companies that have stepped up in support of the Foundation. I am personally excited about our future and the impact the Foundation will have on both students’ lives and the people who will be the future of fluid power. There is no greater investment than in the people. People made this industry what it is today, and it will be people, such as those entering our industry and our scholarship recipients, who will shape tomorrow.

By Jean Knowles, CFPE, CFPS, and 2014 FPEF Chair. Jean Knowles can be reached at jeanie.knowles@gmail.com.

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