Foundation creates Skills Scholarships

SIDNEY — The Community Foundation of Shelby County is offering 10 scholarships of up to $2,000 each for students and adults pursuing training at a trade or technical school or community college that leads to a certificate or Associate’s degree. The 2020 Skills Scholarship application now open and is available to residents of Shelby County or the schools districts of the county. Both high school seniors and adults may apply.

“Students today have a very wide range of opportunities from pursuing skills education to a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Even though the length of training is usually shorter, those wanting a career in a skilled or technical field often face education costs that are out of their reach. We want to give them the ability to get training that will lead to a good paying job and stable employment,” said Marian Spicer, executive director.

“Skilled workers are very important to our manufacturers, contractors, healthcare organizations and the service industry. We are committed to ensuring that in 2020 and 2021 there will be at least ten scholarships each year for skills education students. Thanks to many individuals and companies, the Shelby County United Way and several charitable funds at the Community Foundation, we have enough to provide all 10 this spring and the start of what is needed for 2021.”

In the future, Spicer hopes that skills scholarship funds are established to generate annual awards. One skills scholarship fund was already established by Bob Sargeant, who grew up in Greene Township, co-founded the former Sidney Tool & Die and now resides in Florida.

“Anyone can buy a machine, but it takes a trained person to make it work,” said Sargeant. His business relied upon a workforce of skilled machinists, programmers, welders, inspectors and more to produce quality parts for the aerospace and manufacturing industries. As older skilled workers retire, a young workforce needs training to fill jobs and take companies into the future.

Applicants for the Shelby County Skills Scholarship and the Bob Sargeant Skills Scholarship apply using one online form on the Community Foundation website at From the Grants & Scholarship menu, select Apply for a Scholarship and then choose the 2020 Skills Scholarship Application. The deadline to apply is March 12, 2020.

The Community Foundation also has a general scholarship application due February 13th that provides scholarships for students going to a trade or technical school or pursuing an associates, bachelors or higher degree at a college or university. Students planning to attend a trade or technical school or obtain a degree at a community college may apply through both the General and Skills Scholarship applications. Students pursuing a bachelors degree or higher can apply only for the scholarships available through the General Scholarship application. Scholarship funds are set up by individuals who also establish the eligibility criteria for awards.

Contact Juli Smith, the Community Foundation’s scholarships and grants administrator at for additional information.