CNC Machines is accepting applications for a $2500 scholarship for students pursuing a certification, certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree in a manufacturing-related area of study.

The company introduced the CNC Machines Manufacturing Scholarship program in 2018 and awarded its first round of scholarships earlier this year. The amount of the award has increased to from $2,000 to $2,500 since then.

Over the past several years, the manufacturing sector has been on a growth track leading to creation of more and more jobs. Yet according to a 2018 report from Deloitte, the lack of qualified talent could cause the U.S. to lose as much as $454 billion in GDP by 2028. In fact, that same research shows that in the United States, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs are currently unfilled.

“As American manufacturing continues its resurgence, the focus now needs to turn to aggressively addressing the looming and potentially devastating skills gap. CNC Machines is committed to doing its part and this scholarship, along with other programs we offer, is our way of stepping up to the plate to help the industry grow,” said Curt Doherty, CEO.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must submit a 1000-1300-word essay via CNC Machines’ online form about why they chose to pursue a care in manufacturing; what they think can be done to attract younger generations to the field; as well as include information on their skills, goals and future plans. Applications are due by January 17 and the winner will be announced on February 3.

This is not the only skills gap-closing endeavor that CNC Machines has introduced. It has also awarded scholarships exclusively to veterans who want to follow the needed training and education to become machinists.