BRING SHOP CLASS BACK, FROM COAST-TO-COAST
by Eric D. Lussier, CSI, CDT
  

  
"Let’s raise construction as an option in the eyes of the world."

This sentence was penned by Thad Goodman, in an article entitled "It's an Image Problem",  which you can read here on the Let's Fix Construction blog.  Thad also states "one of the bigger issues we have currently is labor. Or should I say a lack of it."

So, when one of the largest private employers in the United States last week announced a $50 MILLION  commitment to train 20,000 new construction workers over the next ten years, Thad's concerns from August of 2017 seem to be validated. That employer, The Home Depot, ranks fifth ( as of 2016) in total number of employees with 406,000, and while they depend on skilled trades to shop at their establishments across the Nation, they also rely on tradesmen to install construction materials and appliances for their customers directly. 

In the coverage of the Home Depot news, the USA Today stated that '84% of contractors surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders ( NAHB) and Wells Fargo in December cited availability of workers and cost as their most significant problems last year'.

Our hope is that more of the major names in the construction industry step forward to address the concern about the lack of the skilled trades, across all industries within AEC.  

Please read on for the entire press release from Home Depot,  which you can also read here.

ATLANTA, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Home Depot® Foundation announced a $50 million commitment to train 20,000 tradespeople over the next 10 years in order to fill the growing skilled labor gap.  

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 tradespeople retire over the next decade. The ratio of construction job openings to hirings, as measured by the Department of Labor, is at its highest level since 2007.

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.

“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 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.”

“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,” said HBI CEO John Courson. “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.”

In addition to serving separating military members, The Home Depot Foundation is establishing an advanced level trades training program in partnership with the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) 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 underserved high schools across the United States.

Today’s announcement expands The Home Depot Foundation’s mission beyond its existing quarter-of-a-billion dollar commitment to veteran housing, as well as its commitment to serve communities impacted by natural disasters. 

About The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters.

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. In 2018, the Foundation committed an additional $50 million dollars to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople over the next 10 years starting with separating military members and veterans, at-risk youth and members of the Atlanta Westside community. 

To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit  thd.co/community and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at  facebook.com/teamdepot.

About HBI
HBI is a national nonprofit that provides training, curriculum development and job placement services for the building industry. With overall program job placement rates at over 85 percent for graduates, HBI training programs are taught in local communities across the country to at-risk youth, veterans, transitioning military members, justice-involved youth and adults, and displaced workers. Visit  www.hbi.org for more information.