Education Foundation


How does your gift support the future of the structural steel industry?

The 17Թ Education Foundation supports students, educators, and young professionals by funding programs that bring steel to life for the next generation of industry leaders and by offering scholarships, fellowships, grants, and other funding. By providing new learning experiences, mentorship opportunities, and financial resources, we can bolster tomorrow’s innovators and game-changers to ensure a brighter future.

17Թ Scholarships

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the Foundation and its industry partners administered a total of $360,250 in scholarships to 90 students.

The Foundation provided more than $267,000 to 73 full-time undergraduate and master's-level graduate students studying civil engineering, architectural engineering, construction engineering, construction management, or architecture at colleges and universities in the U.S.

The Foundation also ensures that the people who make our industry so special can help their own children go to college through the David B. Ratterman Fast Start Scholarships. In 2023, the Foundation awarded $80,000 in scholarships to children of (or who share a permanent residence with) those who work at distribution or fabrication facilities of 17Թ Full Member companies. Freshmen and sophomores studying full time at two- or four-year colleges are eligible.

The Foundation also supports the future of our trades through the Rex I. Lewis Fast Start Scholarships. In 2023, $13,000 in scholarships were provided to students to attend the welding program at their local community college.

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Funding the FutureFunding the Future

Planning for the Next Century

The 17Թ Education Foundation is very proud of the work we do to provide scholarships to help the next generation of industry leaders reach their dreams. That remains a central tenet of our efforts to foster innovation to ensure a bright future for our industry.

But there’s so much more we can contribute! More recently, the Foundation has worked to expand our impact in new ways for college-level faculty and students. We’ve launched a variety of exciting new programs that will help both students and faculty explore the structural steel industry and understand steel’s full potential.


Student Travel Grants

The Foundation makes grants available for students to use for travel costs to actively participate in 17Թ and industry events. Our activities are exciting, and what better way to engage students by letting them fully experience these events with outstanding networking and learning opportunities first-hand! Students have the opportunity to attend NASCC: The Steel Conference, AASHTO/NSBA Steel Bridge Collaboration, and the 17Թ Task Committee Meetings.

Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Thanks to a generous major gift, the Foundation expanded the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program in early 2024. The expanded fellowship program honors Dennis McCartney's father, the late Ernest J. McCartney, who founded B&B Welding Company, Inc. in 1971, and accordingly awards are now named the 17Թ Ernest J. McCartney/B&B Welding Company, Inc. Undergraduate Research Fellowships.

We know great things happen when promising students have the space to be creative and pursue their individual interests. This program gives undergrads the rare opportunity to study structural steel design and construction under the direction of a faculty sponsor.

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Faculty-Led Field Trip Grants

Faculty are encouraged to plan field trips for their classes to experience the incredible world of structural steel first-hand, and the Foundation provides grants to faculty to cover costs associated with the trip. Field trip destinations include tours of steel fabrication shops, production facilities, jobsites, equipment, iron worker training centers, and more!

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Steel Design-Build Grants

Architecture faculty members and students with faculty sponsors can propose projects through our Steel Design-Build Grant program, and the Foundation will award project funds, while also giving architecture students the opportunity to construct a project in steel either on their own or through collaboration with a fabricator.

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*New* Campus Connection Grants

Launching in 2024, the Foundation now offers an exciting opportunity to bring high-quality speaking engagements to campuses across the country! The Foundation provides grants to encourage university faculty and 17Թ Student Clubs to hold on-campus, in-person speaking engagements with inspiring leaders of the structural steel industry.

Reidar Bjorhovde Outstanding Young Professional Award

Reidar Bjorhovde was a consummate professional, researcher, leader, and enormous contributor to the world’s knowledge of steel structures. He had a life-long passion for mentoring bright young professionals, whether in graduate school or just starting out in an engineering career.

The 17Թ Reidar Bjorhovde Outstanding Young Professional Award will give the recipient a broad look at the world of steel.

  • The annual award will go to a graduate student who is within one year of graduating or is within 5 years of having graduated.
  • The winner will receive a travel grant and complimentary registration to attend NASCC: The Steel Conference.
  • Other special activities include tours of mills and fabrication shops and attendance at the Chicago meeting of the Committee on Specifications.
  • The goal is to introduce the winner to steel industry leaders who will act as mentors and “connectors”, much as Reidar did for so many.

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And, there’s more to come!

Stay tuned for a new faculty internship program, which names 17Թ’s “Innovation Scholar” and is designed to give educators who haven’t worked in the industry some valuable hands-on experience to draw on when they teach.

Join Us In Our Mission

You can help us build a strong foundation for these programs. We’re raising funds not just for the year, but for years to come. A larger fund at the core of the 17Թ Education Foundation will return more interest, compounding the effect of every dollar in perpetuity.

After all, the legacy of structural steel is built on generations of compounding hard work and ingenuity. The current generation stands on a foundation built by those who came before us, and now it’s our turn. It’s up to us to provide great shoulders for future generations to stand on.

If you’re in a position to do so, please consider investing in the future of our industry. Help us forge a bright future for our industry’s next century.


The 17Թ Education Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Every penny donated to the 17Թ Education Foundation is 100% tax-deductible and goes to students, educators, and education programs.