The National Housing Endowment’s Skilled Labor Fund recently announced a new grant from The Home Depot Foundation and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The grant will enable the Skilled Labor Fund and the Home Builders Institute to help ensure that the next generation of skilled workers in the building and construction trades have access to the important job training they need through the Schools to Skills training program.

“Current projections indicate that by 2030 we will lose 41% of the skilled laborers we need to continue the work that is so mission-critical to the success of NAHB, NKBA, and NARI members,” said Ed Brady, CEO of the Home Builders Institute. “If we’re going to make a difference and reverse this trend, it’ll take a united industry all coming together to solve this problem, and ensure the next generation of skilled workers is on its way—ready and able to do the important jobs that keep our world moving forward. Donations like this one from The Home Depot Foundation and National Association of Home Builders are key to ensuring this happens, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

The Skilled Labor Fund was founded in 2017 with a mission to fund trade school scholarships and alleviate industry labor shortages. The shortage of skilled workers in the building and construction trades is reaching near-crisis proportions, with the potential to impact both the supply of new homes and the ongoing repair and renovation of existing homes. McKinsey & Co. predictions indicate that 41% of the current U.S. construction workforce is expected to retire by 2031, with as many as 300,000 construction jobs going unfilled in the U.S. According to the Skilled Labor Fund, this is an increase of 81% over the last two years. Left unsolved, the labor shortage problem would impact not only the building and construction industry but the entire country as a whole.

“While we know the skilled labor gap continues to grow and affect the residential construction industry, nationwide, we’re encouraged by these new efforts from The Skilled Labor Fund,” said Heather Prill, senior manager of strategic partnerships at The Home Depot Foundation. “The Foundation has been working very closely with Home Builders Institute over the last few years to train skilled tradespeople and we look forward to working with The Skilled Labor Fund to bring new opportunities to the future of the construction industry.”

With the grant’s support, the Schools to Skills program will reportedly provide high-quality training to 1,400 students across nine states. These grants provide classrooms, tools, and equipment, as well as OSHA 10 certifications and on-site job training, for 16-18 year-olds currently enrolled in high school. These programs aid in providing in-demand job skills while enabling the proper connections and networking inside the industry for job placement and apprenticeships after completion of the program and graduation from high school.

“We need more skilled trades workers to help meet the ever-increasing demand for safe, affordable housing,” said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the NAHB and a custom home builder from Tampa, Fla. “This grant from the Home Depot Foundation and Schools to Skills will help bridge the gap for many young people who see skilled trades training for what it is: A gateway to a successful career free from the burden of student loan debt. With these new skilled trades workers, we will be able to help more American families find a desirable home that meets their needs.”

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