Home Depot made a significant financial commitment on Thursday that will have a positive impact on the lives of military veterans.
The Home Depot Foundation announced its plans to donate $50 million to train 20,000 tradespeople over the next 10 years, starting with military members and veterans. The program also includes training for at-risk teens and members of the Atlanta Westside community as the company strives to close the gap among skilled laborers in the nation.
“We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast,” Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to train 20,000 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.”
Currently, there are 158,000 unfilled construction sector jobs in the U.S according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the statement cited. That number is expected to grow as tradespeople retire over the next 10 years.
According to the foundation:
In 2017, The Home Depot Foundation launched a pilot trades training program for separating military members in partnership with nonprofit Home Builders Institute (HBI) on Ft. Stewart and Ft. Bragg. The first set of students will graduate this March. The 12-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, which is provided at no cost to students, uses an industry-based curriculum recognized by the Department of Labor that integrates work-based learning with technical and academic skills. The program, which has a job placement rate of more than 90 percent, will now roll out on additional bases across the United States.
“HBI has a 50-year history of training individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the building industry. Our program prepares men and women for high-growth careers in the industry after leaving military service,” HBI CEO John Courson said in a statement. “With 200,000 service members separating from the military every year, our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation enables us to serve more veterans across the country.”
“It’s important that we support the trades,” Home Depot CEO Craig Menear told USA Today, adding that the initiative builds on the company’s donation of $250 million through 2020 to provide housing to veterans.
The foundation announced it is also partnering with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia to establish an advanced level trades training program for residents of Atlanta’s Westside community.
“Over the next 10 years, the Foundation will expand training support to include the broader veteran community as well as undeserved high schools across the United States,” the statement read. “Since 2011, the Foundation has invested nearly a quarter-of-a-billion dollars in veteran-related causes and improved more than 37,000 veteran homes and facilities.”
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