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The Home Depot Foundation and the Home Builders Institute (HBI) are launching a youth trades training program to fill the growing skilled labor gap in the U.S. The program and its curriculum will be available to 11th and 12th graders in approximately 25 high schools in Colorado, Florida, Virginia, Alaska, Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, New Jersey, and Massachusetts with a focus on underserved communities.

“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.,” says Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation, in a news release. “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.”

Upon completion of the training program, students will earn a pre-apprenticeship certification—endorsed by the National Association of Home Builders and recognized by the Department of Labor—at no additional cost to the participants or their families. The Home Depot Foundation and HBI hope to expand the program to more high schools beginning in 2020.

“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,” says 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.”

In another effort to bridge the skilled labor gap, The Home Depot Foundation launched a joint trades training program for separating military members with HBI in 2018. The program serves men and women on eight bases across the country. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $315 million in veteran causes. The foundation pledged an additional $250 million to veteran causes by 2025.

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