The National Housing Endowment's Skilled Labor Fund announced a new grant from The Home Depot Foundation and the National Association of Home Builders. This grant will enable the Skilled Labor Fund and the Home Builders Institute to help ensure 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 percent of the skilled laborers we need to continue the work that is so mission-critical to the success of NAHB, NKBA, and NARI members. 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." said Ed Brady, CEO of the Home Builders Institute.

The Skilled Labor Fund was founded in 2017 with its mission being 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 as well as the ongoing repair and renovation of existing homes. McKinsey & Company 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., which the Skilled Labor Fund says is an increase of 81% over the last two years. Left unsolved, this 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," expressed 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 support of this grant, the "Schools to Skills" program will 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. Not only do these programs aid in providing in-demand job skills, but they also provide the proper connections and networking inside the industry for job placement and apprenticeships after completion of the program and graduation from high school. These students are trained by the best, provided with the critical equipment and tools needed for their training, all while gaining valuable employment eligibility upon completion.

"We need more skilled trades workers to help meet the ever-increasing demand for safe, affordable housing," said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (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."

With rising tuition costs and the nation's student loan debt crisis increasing every day, students are looking for alternatives to traditional 4-year universities. The Skilled Labor Fund is showing students that there is more to academia than book learning and that you can have a successful and well paying career working with their hands in the same time frame as receiving a diploma at a 4-year university all without being weighed down by student debt.

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