Specialized Carriers and Rigging Foundation sets new strategy moving forward. 

Launched in 1986 as a nonprofit arm of SC&RA designed to provide industry research and scholarships to member-company individuals for assistance with college tuition and training fees, SC&RF (Specialized Carriers and Rigging Foundation) has since awarded more than $470,000 to folks pursing such education, and over $300,000 to research-based initiatives.

Guided by a board of directors and committees comprised of volunteers, the Foundation’s overall mission is to serve the crane, rigging and specialized transport industry, support workforce development, provide educational assistance and conduct research to advance growth and opportunities within the industry. On the heels of an extremely productive 2019 that has seen SC&RF organize, streamline and focus its processes – while also providing 21 scholarships and 15 grants – SC&RF has aligned itself with the Association’s new five-year strategic plan, and committed to “ramping up” across the board in 2020.

“2019 was certainly a continuation of the scholarships and grants, but we saw growth in the PIE (Partners in Education) program as well – via in-kind donations and training programs that we can award, valuing more than $25,000,” said Jackie Roskos, director of both the Foundation and the Ladies Group. “We also wanted to drill down and evaluate programs as we further develop our strategy for 2020, aligning with the Association’s emphasis on workforce development.”

NEW Lift & Move Photo

Lift & Move USA will now fall under the SC&RF umbrella, allowing members to support it as a 501 (c) (3) organization.

To that end, the Foundation’s activities are guided by its own strategic plan, which identifies its core interests, key strategies and objectives, and when appropriate, directs the approach to evaluating the effectiveness of its work. SC&RF generally undertakes a review and update of its strategic plan every four to six years, with the most recent plan completed in 2019 – which resulted in changes to the Foundation’s approach and philanthropic model.

The new plan (2019-2023) outlines objectives that include expanding SC&RF’s role as a workforce development advocate through Lift & Move USA (Lift & Move), educational giving and awareness activities and best practice retention. It also aims to produce advocacy-driven research to benefit the Association and members. It seeks to build and reinforce strategic alliances with like organizations to promote workforce development. It’s focused on developing strategic communications and branding campaigns to increase awareness of the organization throughout the industry, while also stabilizing funding for grants and scholarships. It also targets analyzing, reorganizing and restructuring committees and bylaws to meet five-year objectives.

“Mirroring the Association’s strategic plan with SC&RA’s anchor funding for Lift & Move USA, the new Foundation strategic plan has a very strong emphasis on workforce development. All the programs are being evaluated for 2020 to refocus on that direction and how it supports a workforce pipeline for industry members,” Roskos added.

Nuts and bolts

Current SC&RF President, Dave Wittwer, noted that the five-year plan represents a very collaborative, diligent, well-thought-out initiative. “The top priority is to support the Association in its workforce development focus, and the grants and scholarships function represents how SC&RF will contribute to that,” he said. “We also want to become recognized as

an industry research leader; the Foundation’s 2018 ATRI study [Assessing the cost and operational impacts of state practices for minimum quad axle weights granted for routine over-weight permits] is a good example. However, we will also lead the industry in creating meaningful, industry-driven research projects.”

Roskos added, “We funded the ATRI [American Transportation Research Institute] study, which was incorporated into the SC&RA UPT2021 initiative and provides key conclusions for the Association to advocate for harmonization to DOT and other officials. The research opened up conversations and helped states to consider some changes.”

According to Roskos, the Foundation’s research function in 2020 will be very much advocacy-driven. “We’re committed to delivering research that the Association can take and use to advocate on behalf of its members, and we’ve spent this year getting everything in order – what proposals we’d be considering from a research standpoint for next year, and where the program is going to grow or be enhanced.”

Foundation Vice President, Geoffrey Davis, noted: “In addition to the ATRI study, we do the Financial Benchmark every three years, as well as develop the communications tools (apps and other awareness studies) that not only builds awareness but provides education. The next round of research that we’re looking to put together is going to specifically feature our industry, our workforce: what it takes, how we’ve penetrated, where we’ve had successes as member companies and how to better coordinate that outreach with Lift & Move awareness activities. We’re really going to focus on the nuts and bolts of the workforce looking ahead, and I think that will put a good razor’s edge on how we want to operate.”

Part of putting all of those nuts and bolts into practice to supplement the aforementioned ramp up includes the creation of marketing kits, explained former Foundation president and current board member, Jim Sever. “These can be sent to member companies purposefully to introduce them to the Foundation (what it is and what it does). Too many members don’t know there is a Foundation, why it exists and what its overall purpose is. These kits of information should provide meaningful understanding, and intrigue members to learn more about SC&RF and/or become engaged.”

It should also be noted that SC&RF rolled out a new logo last month as part of the overall plan to tie its operational goals to the larger mission and articulate its identity for the years ahead.

Collective strength

Sever sees the Foundation and the Association uniting in a way that allows for transparency while at the same time, “… establishing value for the overall membership by creating opportunities for the next generation of labor to truly gain an understanding of the careers available to them.”

Lift & Move USA will boast a governing group made up of individuals from SC&RA, NCCCO, the Foundation and KHL, as well as key industry members. “Collectively, this group will be responsible for the vision to grow and develop Lift & Move in order to orchestrate events that generate awareness of career opportunities not just with candidates (students), but with school administrators, educators, guidance counselors and related advisors,” emphasized Sever.

Roskos maintained, “Bringing Lift & Move under the Foundation provides members and sponsors of the events the advantage of being able to support it as a 501(c)(3). That’s one of the largest benefits. And it will still be funded principally by SC&RA and managed by Tracy Bennett. Lift & Move USA already has several events laid out for 2020; the goal is to have four events a year, with additional exposure at specific trade shows or events. Ultimately, we want to provide an opportunity where any SC&RA members could produce and deliver a similar event with the help of materials and guidance from the Foundation.”

Get involved 

While the Foundation is supported by SC&RA, it is solely funded by individual and corporate donations and fundraising. All donations are tax-deductible and go toward ongoing initiatives, including industry-specific research, workforce development, education, scholarships and grants.

Individual and corporate contributors are recognized throughout the year at various SC&RA events, in the newsletter and on the website. “If you’re in the industry, have a passion and want it to grow and succeed, this is one way you can reinvest in the future of the industry and your company overall,” stressed Roskos. “Ultimately, that’s what the Foundation and Association are doing together – both driven to cultivate and maintain this mission.”

For more information, visit www.scr-foundation.org.

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