HBI and The Home Depot Foundation have partnered to train transitioning military members and other new tradespeople to help address the ongoing skilled labor shortage in the building industry. Beginning with a $1.145 million grant to fund the continuation of HBI’s Military and Veterans Program at Fort Stewart, Ga., and start new operations at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., The Home Depot Foundation is committed to working with HBI to set up training sites at additional U.S. bases this year and in subsequent years.
HBI instructors will train student soldiers using HBI’s Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training. Separating soldiers within 180 days from discharge can participate in the programs to learn trades skills as they prepare to transition into civilian life.
“Through the initial foundation grant, more than 400 student soldiers will train over a two-year period and receive skills that they can use outside of the military. With the roll-out of the Home Depot Foundation commitment, we will increase the number of soldiers we are able to train each year. The foundation’s support is unprecedented. This is a real commitment to industry to train individuals who will help reduce the labor shortage,” said HBI President and CEO John Courson.
The Home Depot Foundation grant will provide support for soldiers to earn national, industry-recognized credentials in their chosen trade such as plumbing, electrical or carpentry. They will also receive support for job placement or continuing education in the building industry upon separation from the military. Soldiers will be trained five days a week, eight hours a day toward completion typically within 12-14 weeks.
“Filling the skilled labor pipeline is essential to the future of America, which is why The Home Depot Foundation recently committed $50 million dollars to train 20,000 tradespeople,” said Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. “With more than 50 years of experience, HBI is the leader in trades training, and we are very proud to partner with them.”
HBI also currently serves soon-to-separate military members at Fort Bliss in Texas in addition to veterans in Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla.
“Our new partnership with The Home Depot Foundation is just the beginning of a long-term relationship to support members of the military and veterans. We will also be able to expand our career and technical training programs serving high school students,” Courson added.
Training under The Home Depot Foundation grant began earlier this year at Ft. Stewart and Ft. Bragg with the first student soldiers set to graduate later this month.