More than 60 organizations, including Lowe's, announced Generation T, a movement intended to help fill the skilled trade gap, according to a news release on Yahoo Finance. The movement aims to create a path to grow talented tradespeople and counter the growing number of skilled trade position vacancies.
Through support from industry leaders, Generation T aims to shift the societal perception of the trades by demonstrating the economic mobility possible, exposing children to trade education early and encouraging students to explore career options beyond four-year degree programs. Gen T also connects prospective skilled trade professionals to apprenticeships and jobs through its website.
According to IHS Markit, the construction industry is slated to experience stronger wage growth than the rest of the U.S. economy, but a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders revealed that 69% of its members were experiencing delays in completing projects on time due to a shortage of qualified workers, while other jobs were lost altogether. This disconnect can be attributed to a retiring workforce and unfavorable perception.
Below are examples of how Generation T partners are taking action and generating awareness in skilled trades:
- Lowe's introduced Track to the Trades, a workforce development initiative to provide career alternatives and financial support for Lowe's associates interested in pursuing a skilled trade. Track to the Trades, launched in February 2018, has more than 1,350 Lowe's associates enrolled and participating in pre-apprenticeships. Programs include carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and appliance repair. Lowe's helps facilitate job placements at the company or within its national network of contractors.
- Timberland PRO, a brand providing safety footwear and work apparel for the trades, launched a new campaign in fall 2018 to help change the perception of the trades. Titled Always Do. Never Done., the campaign showcases men and women in a heroic way working in epic outdoor settings. The goal is to inspire the next generation of workers and also change perceptions about the doers of the world.
- The Bosch Community Fund is providing scholarship opportunities for students who demonstrate interest in the trades and attend one of six northwest Chicago suburban high schools. The program, developed in partnership with the District 214 Education Foundation, gives students who pursue a trade career the chance to earn a scholarship that will fund a community college career certificate program. The headquarters of Bosch Power Tools North America is located in Mt. Prospect, Ill., which is part of District 214.