ARA aims to fill workforce pipeline with those who are ‘Born for This’

ARA Born for This campaign According to the ARA, the average position in the rental industry pays an annual salary of $65,626. (Photo: ARA)

Everyone knows someone who just naturally knows how things work and how to fix them. There’s a desperate need for that skill set in today’s world, particularly in the North American equipment rental industry, and the American Rental Association is trying to do something about it.

That’s why the ARA launched a new workforce development campaign – titled “Born for This” – at The ARA Show 2024, held February 19 – 21 in New Orleans.

As a prelude to The ARA Show keynote session, Tony Conant, ARA chief executive officer (CEO), introduced the new campaign which features a video that follows people from childhood hobbies to honing skills in the present day where they work in the equipment rental industry. A separate video in the same campaign focuses on event rental.

An online media and social media strategy featuring the “Born for This” videos will be executed throughout 2024, engaging the target audience and prospective workforce where they consume news, information and entertainment.

Josh Nickell, vice president of equipment rental for the ARA, describes the video on the equipment side: “It shows a young girl playing in a sandbox with a truck and an excavator. Then you fast forward and she’s working with her dad, backing up a truck and unloading some equipment for some work around the house, and fast forward again and she’s on a jobsite dropping off a piece of equipment,” he explains.

“Whether you were literally born into the family business or were a kid who liked to set up tents and play with toy trucks, there is a place in this industry for you, and with this campaign, we really wanted to call that out,” says Conant.

The ARA created 30-second and 60-second spots which will be used on media such as streaming services, YouTube or social sites such as Facebook, for example.

Connecting with influencers

In addition to the campaign spots, Nickell says ARA is also targeting influential organizations that could have a hand in forwarding the message.

“Last summer we were at the Girl Scouts annual convention, for example, where there were 7,000 Girl Scouts and their scout leaders; young people who love working outside, love working with their hands.

“And we’re there with NASA, saying ‘Our members do things like build skyscrapers and put on the Taylor Swift concert... ‘ We’re doing everything we can to build a long-term pipeline of workforce for the industry,” he says. 

ARA’s social media channels will also feature ARA members sharing stories about the point in their lives when they realized they were born for rental. One of those members is ARA’s 62nd president, Jeff Crotto, CERP, president, All About Events, Jacksonville, Florida, US. Crotto said when he first started his rental career 20 years ago, he was new to the industry.

“For me, rental awareness should be something on top of all our minds. The more we share, volunteer and participate in these efforts, the stronger our industry will be,” he says.

Lucrative career choice

The “Born for This” national campaign is intended to increase awareness of jobs within the rental industry, emphasizing that rental careers offer financially rewarding opportunities, upward

ARA Born for This campaign The ARA’s ‘Born for This’ campaign targets young people with a natural affinity for working with their hands. (Photo: ARA video)

mobility and job stability as part of a $61.5-billion industry.

Rental industry careers at-a-glance:

  • $65,626 average position salary in rental
  • 12,000 rental locations across North America
  • 500,000 equipment and event rental jobs created annually
  • 53.5% of all construction equipment is rented

Nickell says ARA hopes that by actively promoting the industry to an audience with a natural affinity for the work, it will create that steady pipeline it’s aiming for.

“We’re looking for people who love to work with their hands and see that as a good, high-paying, valuable, long-term career,” he says. “It’s mechanics, drivers, service technicians...”

He continues, “Teaching somebody to be a generalist mechanic or to drive a truck, those kinds of trades are just not attracting as many young people, despite the fact that we in rental have great career advancement and great wages. And you don’t need a college degree to do it.”

Guiding graduates to rental

The societal push to send high school graduates to college is part of the challenge in filling the workforce pipeline for rental.

“Guidance counselors aren’t promoting our industry as much as they could. Even federal incentives try to get kids to go to college. Everything is pushing in that direction... We were at the American School Counselors Association last year, and there were a lot of people who get it. When we talk to trade school teachers, they understand.”

Nickell continues, “We’re seeing more and more parents look at how expensive college is, and what their kids could achieve without going into a lot of college debt. We’re trying to piggyback on some of that messaging and say, ‘Here’s a great industry that is sustainable, in the sharing economy, and it’s growing.”

For more information about rental industry workforce development, visit


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Euan Youdale Editor Tel: +44 (0)1892 786 214 E-mail: [email protected]
Lindsey Anderson Editor Tel: +1 312 929 4409 E-mail: [email protected]
Tony Radke Sales Manager Tel: +1 480 478 6302 E-mail: [email protected]
Ollie Hodges Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0)1892 786253 E-mail: [email protected]