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WJA Foundation Launches New Diversity Scholarships for GIA Education

The scholarships will support underrepresented communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.




WJA Foundation Launches New Diversity Scholarships for GIA Education

(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The Women’s Jewelry Association Foundation (WJA Foundation) announces a generous pledge from GIA (Gemological Institute of America) to fund new diversity scholarships for students wishing to take on-campus or eLearning courses through GIA Education. In 2022, WJA Foundation will award $25,000 in student scholarships to support underrepresented communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.

“We know that access to education and capital are two important factors preventing well-deserving students and emerging designers from succeeding in the industry. WJA Foundation is thrilled to receive this generous funding from GIA to enable our organization to support more students who wish to enter the industry and professionals who are seeking to finish their studies without taking on a heavy financial burden.” – Brandee Dallow, WJA Foundation president.

Applicants are able to select from a variety of offerings, including GIA’s online Applied Jewelry Professional (AJP ) diploma program and Diamond Essentials and Diamonds and Diamond Grading courses, or its on campus Graduate Colored Stones diploma program and Jewelry Design certificate course. To make the opportunity even more flexible, WJA Foundation is extending the awards to include scholarship applicants who are already pursuing their credential through GIA’s Distance Education Program and are seeking funds to register for their next course or lab class. To learn more about GIA education, visit here.

The announcement coincides with the launch of WJA Foundation’s third charitable pillar focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion education initiatives. Through its multi-dimensional funding framework, the WJA Foundation focuses its charitable giving on general jewelry education and business development, and responsible sourcing and sustainability education. Now, with GIA’s pledge, WJA Foundation is able to positively impact more talent and improve the professional outcomes of students and designers from underserved communities.

“WJA Foundation is dedicated to providing educational and business opportunities that allow individuals to reach their full potential. We recognize that we operate in an industry that has many barriers to entry, especially for those from underserved communities. WJA Foundation is committed to being a more inclusive organization and will continue evaluating its funding model to enable more emerging talent to start and elevate their careers in jewelry, gemstones or timepieces. We aim to continue growing and learning as an organization, and presenting more opportunities like these in the future.” – WJA Executive Director, Jennifer Markas.




This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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