- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2018

Home Depot announced Thursday that it will donate $50 million to train 20,000 people as construction workers over the next 10 years, starting with military veterans, high school students and at-risk teens.

“We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast,” Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation, said in a statement.

“We’re thrilled to train 20,000 next-generation plumbers, electricians, carpenters and beyond,” she said. “It’s a true honor to welcome our first classes of separating soldiers as they transition to civilian life and into successful careers in the trades.”

The Home Builders Institute, the industry’s education arm, will use the money from the Home Depot Foundation to train the new workers. Home Depot Chairman and CEO Craig Menear said the initiative builds on the company’s donation of $250 million through 2020 to provide housing to veterans, USA Today reported.

“It’s important that we support the trades,” Mr. Menear told USA Today.

The initiative is looking to address the country’s worsening labor gap. There were 158,000 unfilled construction jobs in December, up from 140,000 a year earlier, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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