The Home Builders Institute (HBI) this week announced The Home Depot Foundation will commit up to $500,000 to fund student training in home construction careers in high schools across the country. Additionally, the National Housing Endowment (NHE), the philanthropic arm of NAHB, has pledged $200,000 in support of the effort. This combined $700,000 will provide training to thousands of students for construction trades skills.
The funds will allow HBI to provide a hands-on curriculum for high school students nationwide, along with instructor training and materials. Upon completion, students will earn a pre-apprenticeship certification endorsed by NAHB and recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. The programs will be available at no additional cost to students and their families.
Industry data shows there are an estimated 311,000 open jobs, like carpentry, electrical, plumbing and others in residential construction.
The Foundation and HBI will work with the nearly 650 state and local home builders associations (HBAs) to reach out to teachers, parents and students. “It will be HBAs and their members who will help us coordinate directly with high schools in their communities to put these new funds to work,” Brady said.
“HBAs represent home builders, remodelers and contractors in every corner of the country and are critically important partners in the success of this initiative,” said Mark Pursell, NHE President and CEO.
“Residential construction growth will continue in 2020 and thereafter, supported by low interest rates, solid economic growth and a lack of housing inventory,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.
“At the same time, the home building industry faces a skilled trades gap,” said Ed Brady, HBI President and CEO. “As a result, opportunities for well-paid, rewarding careers in residential construction are tremendous.”
“Education and the construction industry continue to evolve and present new challenges and opportunities for the skilled trades workforce,” said Shannon Gerber, Executive Director of The Home Depot Foundation. “This year is expected to hold pivotal moments for each sector, and we’re excited to help bring fresh trades opportunities to our youth, as well as be on the forefront of the positive changes to come.”
The Foundation’s $500,000 commitment is part of a $50 million partnership with HBI, launched in 2018, to train 20,000 tradespeople over 10 years.
Former Florida HBA President Mike Hickman was influential in the Polk County School Board decision to adopt the HBI curriculum its six high school construction academies. “We are reaching nearly 800 students with an effective, industry-vetted program,” Hickman said. “This will serve them well, as they move on to higher education and enter the workforce.”