Editor’s note: Cleaning & Maintenance Management magazine (CMM) and ISSA Scholars are both affiliated with ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. CMM covers the work of ISSA and its divisions through staff-written and contributed articles.
Each year, millions of individuals pursue higher education to build a foundation for, or to advance, their careers. Over the last few decades, however, the tuition costs of colleges and universities have risen significantly and increased the financial burden on students and their families. Scholarships help to relieve this burden and make it easier for individuals to achieve higher education. Scholarships awarded by ISSA Scholars, an ISSA Charity, also introduce the next generation to career opportunities within the cleaning industry.
Often, students and their families take on enormous financial burdens to achieve higher education. According to an Ipsos survey conducted in 2020, U.S. families spent US$30,017 on average on college, a figure that increased across all income levels over the previous two years. While parent income and savings covered 44% of education costs, scholarships and grants covered only 25%. On average, students took out more than $6,500 in loans.
Between academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, the survey found the average scholarship and grant awards dropped. At the same time, the amount that parents paid out of pocket and students borrowed increased.
Still, nine in 10 families agree that college is an investment in a child’s future. Despite the rising costs, pursuing higher education remains a priority for students. ISSA Scholars offers scholarships to relieve this financial burden and help students achieve their dreams.
Growing the industry
Not only do scholarships enable students to achieve their dreams, but they are also critical to developing talented professionals. Over the last year, companies across industries have experienced high employee turnover. In 2021, over 47 million workers resigned from their jobs. Additionally, in industries such as durable goods manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and health services, there are fewer unemployed workers with experience in the industry than unfilled job openings. As a result, there are not enough job seekers to fill open positions in several industries.
The cleaning industry was no exception to the “Great Resignation.” However, current students give the industry hope for the future. More than 14 million students enrolled in an undergraduate program in 2021. They are investing in their careers and will be looking for opportunities to join the workforce in just a few years. By providing scholarships to college students, ISSA Scholars introduces opportunities within the worldwide cleaning industry to future job seekers.
To support this mission, Scott Jarden, president of The Bullen Companies, established a scholarship in memory of his father Richard Jarden, a former president of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association. “The idea of awarding scholarships to individuals to increase their knowledge and hopefully motivate their return to the industry seemed like a fantastic idea,” said Jarden. “Before setting up the scholarship in my father’s memory, Bullen contributed to the general scholarship fund for many years.”
“Until COVID-19, our industry was in a kind of limbo as a necessary but largely ignored part of doing business. We need to recruit professionals from higher education to demonstrate our industry’s importance,” added Jarden. “If you want to make an impact on young people that could enter our industry, I can’t think of a better way than to provide scholarships.”
The impact of ISSA Scholars
Since 1988, ISSA Scholars has given nearly $4 million in financial aid to more than 1,000 college and university students. In 2021 alone, generous donors made it possible for the organization to provide over $110,000 in scholarships to 35 students.
In 2002, Roger Parrott, past president of ISSA, started the Roger and Victoria Parrott Scholarship Fund through ISSA Scholars to honor his parents. “I wanted to pass forward what they did for me to have a wonderful career in the cleaning industry,” said Parrott. “I hope to support the scholarship for another 20 years to come.”
To apply for a scholarship, students must demonstrate academic merit, individual accomplishments, and evidence of leadership. Employees and immediate family members of ISSA member companies can apply to support their studies at any fully accredited four-year college or university.
“This scholarship has allowed me to pursue my dreams,” said Brandon Salas, an ISSA Scholarship recipient. “I will be forever grateful for that opportunity.”
How you can help
“It’s the new folks coming up with new ideas that can really make a difference when a problem emerges,” added Parrott. “We need those younger minds. It’s our obligation to get as many kids as we can educated in a very high-priced world of education.”
Supporting ISSA Scholars is an investment in the future of the industry. For the 2022-2023 academic year, ISSA Scholars is seeking support to award scholarships to the many deserving students currently applying. To learn more or donate, visit issacharities.org/issa-scholars.