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ARA of Virginia’s president shares workforce development ideas

By Lee Gibson

May 16, 2023

Lee Gibson

Lee Gibson

Hello, American Rental Association (ARA) Region Two members. I hope it’s been a great spring rental season for you so far. I’m Lee Gibson, president of Bay Equipment in Newport News, Va., and president of the ARA of Virginia, and I’m pleased to be able to share a few thoughts with you.

Most, if not all, of us in our industry struggle with retaining good workers. There are no easy, one-size-fits-all remedies to the issue, but there are some resources out there that can help.

Workers often feel inclined to remain with an employer if they feel valued and that an investment is made in their professional development. That usually means offering training, and training can cost your organization money. Sometimes, it pays to do a simple search into state-specific programs out there that can offset some of the costs of training. For example, here in Virginia we have the Incumbent Worker Training Program that provides reimbursement to businesses for specific training costs. Those of you from Virginia may benefit from looking into this program here (notice the “Success Story” sidebar feature on a certain ARA member from Virginia!) Maybe your state has an equivalent to this program.

Another resource that is available specifically to all of us in the equipment and event rental community is the Employee Training Assistance Program through the ARA Foundation. This program can pay for 50 percent — up to $2,500 — of the types of training that will build your employees’ skills and keep your operation competitive. Trainings do not need to be ARA-branded programs but must support a career in the equipment or event rental industry. To learn more about this program, click here.

Finally, I encourage you to check out the newly upgraded This is ARA’s website that aims to connect job seekers with rental career opportunities. It includes several tools you can use to help attract the likes of students, parents, educators and veterans who are seeking information on careers in an industry full of opportunity.

Have a safe and profitable spring and summer.

Lee Gibson, ARA of Virginia president
Bay Equipment
Newport News, Va.