The Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO) has created a nonprofit, the RJO Foundation, to provide scholarships and educational opportunities in the jewelry industry.
The foundation debuted at the RJO Buying Show, which took place Aug. 1–3 in St Louis, with a campaign that raised nearly $17,000 in cash and scrap gold contributions.
“I feel education is an important part of a well-rounded jeweler,” said Mike Doland, president of the RJO Foundation, in a statement. “Encouraging them with a start on their education can make a big difference in keeping them in our industry. Our industry will be in need of young people following in the footsteps of independent jewelers as many of us are facing retirement in the next few years.”
Added foundation executive director Mary Peterson: “The creation of this foundation has been in the back of my mind for a few years. With the next generation of independent retailers becoming more and more prevalent in stores, providing financial aid for educational opportunities is extremely important. Encouraging continued learning, whether through business classes, bench training, or specific industry courses, is vital for ongoing success in our industry.”