Home Depot Expands Skilled Trades Initiative

by Emily Blackburn

The Home Depot announced that it is expanding on The Home Depot Foundation’s $50 million trades training commitment announced in 2018 with a new education and job placement program called Path to Pro. The program aims to address the skilled labor gap by educating more people in the skilled trades, connecting skilled tradespeople with jobs and careers, and generating interest in trade professions through educational campaigns.

Eighty-three percent of contractors still have trouble finding skilled workers, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Construction Index, and at any given time, there are about 300,000 skilled labor job openings.

Investing in Training

The company recently sponsored its first weeklong boot camp to teach essential industry skills like job site safety, tool usage, material handling as well as communication and professional skills. The boot camp is piloting in the Atlanta area and is planned to expand into additional markets next year. Graduates earn a Home Depot certificate that recognizes construction skills and professional fundamentals.

Additionally, the company will launch a first-of-its-kind website early next year to allow people to search local training programs, licensing requirements and open jobs in the trades – all in one centralized resource. The site features reliable day-in-the-life videos and stories for each trade, projected industry growth, salary information in industries like electrical, carpentry, plumbing and HVAC.

The Home Depot will also introduce a new, proprietary online platform to increase access to networking between skilled tradespeople and the company’s Pro customers. Training program graduates can showcase their work portfolio, experience and additional qualifications, and be contacted by Pros in their area looking for skilled labor hires.

Filling a Need

In 2018, The Home Depot Foundation launched its trades training mission to help fill the skilled labor gap through programs in high schools, career academies and military bases nationwide. The Foundation works with Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) and Home Builders Institute (HBI) to provide skilled training courses at the K-12 level in schools across the country.

In partnership with HBI and 10 military bases, separating service members will be trained and certified, helping them launch their next career. The Home Depot is also the trades industry sponsor for the Center for Workforce Innovation at Atlanta Technical College (ATC) which is providing real skills to help students attain economic mobility in the trades.

The Foundation’s trades-focused partnerships have exposed more than 15,000 people to the skilled trades and have certified 3,600 participants in its first two years. With the company’s expanded efforts, people will have even more resources and training to pursue and grow their careers in the trades from start to finish.

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