BAMA Scholarship Program Helps Promote Manufacturing in Tampa Bay

Educational costs are at an all time high. As the cost of higher education continues to soar, regional manufacturers associations are doing their part in augmenting the skill-set of deserving students and employees through scholarship programs. BAMA (Bay Area Manufacturers Association) of Tampa is a big proponent of academic advancement, and offers scholarships on an annual basis to promote continuing education for current manufacturing employees and local students.

As part of its effort to as promote excellence in vocational training, BAMA recently awarded a $1000 scholarship to Burton Bellamy, a current student at Hillsborough Community College. The scholarship was presented by keynote speaker, William R. “Willy” Schweikert, director of engineering for Florida region at Raytheon during BAMA’s dinner meeting at the Countryside Country Club in Clearwater in June, 2011. David Stailey, president of BAMA says the initiative is part of an effort to promote manufacturing in the bay area. Stailey says there is a great need for technical/engineering support, and to promote excellence and achievement in vocational training. He hopes the scholarship will encourage students to pursue educational pathways in high-tech fields like manufacturing, and will eventually help them become future engineers. The good news, he says, is there are many high paying jobs in manufacturing that can be availed of with a two year technical and/or associates degree. “What we’re working on is coming up with a strategy to reach out to younger generation, get them excited and involved in innovative STEM and manufacturing-related fields.”

To qualify for the BAMA scholarship, applicants had to write a 500 word essay highlighting reasons for their interest in being appointed as a BAMA scholarship winner, outline educational goals and/or career plans rele
vant to the vision and expectations of a manufacturing association, expected contributions by the applicant to the manufacturing field, and how the BAMA scholarship would impact their academic goals. Applicants also had to provide two recommendation letters—one from the parent/grandparent; the other from a current school teacher, administrator, or a BAMA member, along with transcripts documenting previous higher education credentials. In addition to the $1000 scholarship, BAMA will be donating money to help support several manufacturing and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related initiatives throughout the Tampa bay area. BAMA donated money to support Florida Advanced Technological Education Center high-tech robotics camps this summer at HCC-Brandon. It is also donating money to support STEM-related programs at the St. Petersburg Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL, and gave two $500 scholarships to Pasco and Pinellas Vocational Technical Centers. Money for the scholarships was raised through BAMA scholarship golf tournament held in April, 2011. “Manufacturing offers a better quality of life than merely flipping burgers and it is important to keep manufacturing jobs in the bay area” Stailey said.
For information on BAMA scholarships, or to register as a member contact Dave Stailey at 813.626.7006/dpstailey@aol.com, or visit www.bama-fl.org. For information on additional scholarships provided by regional manufacturers associations across Florida contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at HCC-Brandon at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.madeinflorida.org/scholarships.