Red Wing Shoes has unveiled its new Builders Exchange Program to bring virtual and real-world builders together. Collaborating with Roblox, a global online platform that connects millions of people through shared experiences, the program will help close the skilled trades gap and continue the work of today’s tradespeople.
Roblox community members can access the Red Wing BuilderTown experience to drive positive change in the real world by creating homes for those in need. While learning about the importance of the skilled trades, users can build virtual homes by collecting materials and consulting with the BuilderTown tradespeople, Red Wing’s general contractor, electrician, roofer, and carpenter to meet building requirements.
“More and more people are building today; the catch is that they’re building in the metaverse and not in the real world. The skilled trades are being overlooked and losing workforce as the youth focus on virtual reality vs. building in real life,” says Dave Schneider, chief marketing officer at Red Wing Shoe Co. “We’re excited to bridge this gap with our new Builders Exchange Program that encourages these talented virtual developers to learn from skilled tradespeople and continue to build for a better future.”
With each virtual tiny home built within Roblox, a donation from Red Wing will be given to Settled., an organization that houses the homeless in tiny homes. As more virtual homes are built, more will be built in the real world to not only help the homeless, but also skilled tradespeople.
To launch the program, Red Wing joined Roblox community developer Naomi Clemens and general contractor Kemi Ndolo to create a virtual design then bring it into real life. For the real-world build, Red Wing partnered closely with BuildStrong Academy, an organization focused on closing the skilled trades gap.
“Working with Kemi has been amazing. We are both builders and creators, so getting to brainstorm designs with him and see the project come to life has been fascinating,” says Clemens. “I’ve been building in virtual spaces for half a decade but building a structure in the physical world that I can reach out and touch, wielding a hammer has made me feel very powerful. And knowing that this home will make a major difference in somebody’s life is incredibly inspiring.”