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Building awareness about careers in rental at the local level

By Connie Lannan

July 2, 2023

Gina Glas, CERP, (right) of A Classic Party Rental in Indianapolis, with Nancy Hernandez-Vazquez, recipient of the A Classic Party Rental scholarship

Gina Glas, CERP, (right) of A Classic Party Rental in Indianapolis, with Nancy Hernandez-Vazquez, recipient of the A Classic Party Rental scholarship

Gina Glas, CERP, and her cousin, Jack Hawkins, grew up in their family’s Indianapolis event rental operation — A Classic Party Rental — and have built their careers in the business, now serving as managing partners. They wanted to share their love of the industry and the career possibilities it offers with the next generation, so they took what to them was a natural next step — establish A Classic Party Rental Scholarship for high school seniors in their area.  

“We wanted to promote a career in rental at the local level. The American Rental Association (ARA) has done a great job at the national level. We thought the best way to help was to work with area high schools and focus on seniors who were not going to pursue a traditional college career. We thought that offering a scholarship would open the door to a career in rental,” says Glas, who serves as treasurer on the ARA of Indiana board of directors. 

The scholarship offers $500 toward the completion of an ARA certificate program, such as the ARA Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program or the ARA Certified Sales and Marketing program. The scholarship recipient will receive an additional $250 after working a year in the rental industry.  

“That doesn’t have to be done here at A Classic Party Rental. It can be completed at any event or equipment rental company. Our goal was to take a more holistic approach to a career in rental,” Glas says.  

Never having done this before, she started with one high school. “I reached out to the administration at Pike High School, which is just around the corner from A Classic Party Rental,” she says.  

Glas and Hawkins were quite familiar with the school as they had attended several career fairs there and developed a relationship with the school’s administration. “We also have an employee whose children go to Pike, so we had a lot of connections there,” Glas says.  

With the assistance of the guidance/career counselor at Pike, Gina created the scholarship application. “All the questions were short answer. The application asked about their interest in rental as well as their motivation and dedication to things they have done in their past,” she says.  

It just happened that one of the company’s primarily summer employees, Nancy Hernandez-Vazquez, was a senior at Pike High School and getting ready to graduate.  

“I was wondering where I could find scholarships for school. Jack and Gina mentioned this scholarship and I was immediately very interested in it,” she says. 

“We told her we had just established the scholarship and that it was available. We encouraged her to work with her career counselor to apply,” Glas says.  

Nancy Hernandez-VazquezHernandez-Vazquez didn’t hesitate as she loves working at A Classic Party Rental. “I have been here three years during the summers. I love this environment. I have worked in the linen department, starting at the ironer, then folding linens and also pulling orders. I love all the colors and different materials,” she says. 

Hernandez-Vazquez quickly applied. She’s glad she did as she received the scholarship.  

“It means a lot to me. I was looking for opportunities. I love every opportunity I get here [at A Classic Party Rental]. Seeing that there was a scholarship and I could get my CERP designation — I am very blessed and very glad I got it,” she says. 

The scholarship also clinched her career choice. “I had been interested in nursing, but I don’t have that passion anymore for nursing like I used to. Event rental sales really grabs my attention. I think event rental is my career path, and I hope to someday have a full-time job in sales here,” she adds.  

Hernandez-Vazquez will continue to work at A Classic Party Rental in the fall as she takes classes at Ivy Tech Community College. “My goal is to go to Ivy Tech Community College for two years, then advance my career at A Classic Party Rental,” she says.  

Hernandez-Vazquez is a real go-getter. While she just graduated in May, she already has completed the courses for her CERP designation — a feat that she and Glas are very excited about. 

Now that the first year is under her belt, Glas is ready to expand the offering next year. “My goal is to offer three or four scholarships. I plan to reach out to three other high schools next year and work with local career centers that offer career advice and education to those who are looking at a two-year degree or exploring careers that don’t require a traditional college education. Our goal is to use these scholarships to help open doors for high school seniors and create a path they might not have been thinking about or didn’t even know existed. We want to increase awareness of rental as a career,” Glas says. 

Hernandez-Vazquez couldn’t agree more. “This scholarship opens doors. It is great to offer it in the high schools. I think a lot of students should take the opportunity and look into it. The scholarship helped guide my path to make a career in rental,” she says.  

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