The Home Depot Foundation announced today its partnership with the Home Builders Institute (HBI) in the launch of a youth trades training program designed to help fill the growing skilled labor gap.

“After a successful year of rolling out our military trades training program with HBI, we’re excited to announce the expansion of our joint program into high schools across the U.S.,” said executive director of The Home Depot Foundation Shannon Gerber.

The joint trades training program for separating military members, which currently serves men and women on eight bases across the U.S., was launched by the Home Depot Foundation in 2018 with the help of nonprofit HBI. Now the foundation is promising $50 million dollars for a new initiative to reach the next generation of trade workers.

“With the open job rate increasing every month, this work is important in the short- and long-term, and we’re proud to provide an on-ramp for these students into a career in the trades,” said Gerber.

The program will initially roll-out in approximately 25 high schools with a focus on under-served communities across nine states with plans to expand to more high schools in 2020. This partnership is a part of the foundation’s effort to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople.

“Our goal is to offer the best possible training program for people interested in exploring a career in construction, which is why we’re proud to partner with The Home Depot Foundation in our high school initiative,” said Ed Brady, president and CEO of HBI. “In order to provide the highest quality training, each program will be supported with a two-year PACT curriculum, classroom enhancement and updated tools and equipment for a hands-on training environment.”

The curriculum will be available to 11th- and 12th-grade students. Upon completion, participants will earn a pre-apprenticeship certification—endorsed by the National Association of Home Builders and recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor—provided at no additional cost to students and their families.

“The curriculum is very hands-on and offers industry certifications that are really going to guide these students from high school into valuable, post-secondary opportunities in the trades,” said James Payne, the curriculum supervisor for career technical education (CTE) for Broward County Public Schools.

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