In response to the growing skilled labor gap in the U.S., the Atlanta-based Home Depot Foundation has announced a $50 million commitment to train twenty thousand tradespeople over the next ten years.
In 2017, the foundation, in partnership with the Home Builders Institute, launched a pilot trades training program at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for military service members returning to civilian life. With the new commitment from the foundation, the twelve-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, which has a job placement rate of more than 90 percent, will be expanded to additional military bases across the United States.
In addition, Home Depot will create an advanced-level trades training program in partnership with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia for residents of Atlanta's Westside community. Over the next ten years, the foundation expects to expand training support to include the broader veterans community as well as underserved high schools across the United States.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 158,000 unfilled construction sector jobs in the U.S. — a number that is expected to increase significantly as boomers retire over the next decade.
"We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast," said Shannon Gerber, executive director of the Home Depot Foundation. "We're thrilled to train twenty thousand next-generation plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and beyond. It's a true honor to welcome our first classes of separating soldiers as they transition to civilian life and into successful careers in the trades."
(Photo credit: Home Depot Foundation)