Home Depot Pledges Millions to Train Veterans



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Over the past couple of years, the American economy has been strong. There has been growth in many areas, and the stock market has shot up.

One area that has not been as strong as some would like is homebuilding.

Residential construction employment fell by about 1.5 million during the housing crash. That’s according to USA Today.

Payrolls have risen by only about one-half that amount since 2011 when the recovery began.

Lack of Workers Hurts Construction

It’s been a slow rebound for the industry. One reason is that many workers left the construction industry during this time. Some of them took trucking, factory and oil jobs. They’ve remained in those occupations.

Another factor has been the retirement of many Baby Boomers who worked in the field.

On top of that, less high school graduates are now entering the field.

Late last year, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) surveyed contractors. Eighty-four percent of them said one of their biggest problems was the lack of workers.

The facts bear this out. The chief economist for the NAHB says there is demand for 1.3 million single-family houses to be built in 2018. But only 900,000 will actually be built.

Housing Costs Going Up

It all adds up to a dire shortage in the construction industry.

And the bottom line? Housing costs go up.

But a company with a natural connection to the housing industry has stepped up. They want to try to change this situation.

Home Depot recently announced that it is donating $50 million. The money will go to training 20,000 people as construction workers over the next 10 years.

Training Should Give Industry Boost

Here’s how it will work.

The Home Builders Institute is the education arm of the housing industry. They will use that $50 million donation to train veterans and U.S. Army soldiers in construction work. They will also train high school students and disadvantaged youth.

Home Depot predicts 2,000 more construction certificates per year for the next ten years.

The goal of the program is to increase the number of American construction workers. And to give a boost to the housing industry. That will bring the costs of houses down.

Soldiers and Veterans Will Benefit

Now, the folks at Home Depot know their company will benefit if the housing industry improves.

Home Depot makes many sales to workers in the industry. That includes plumbers and other tradespeople. The more building projects there are, the more money Home Depot will make.

But I don’t have a problem with a company reaping rewards from a program that grows an industry such as housing. Not to mention a program that provides jobs for people who need them.

That’s especially true when it comes to former and current U.S. service men and women.

Home Builders Institute CEO John Courson remarked on what a good match this is for veterans. “They love to work with their hands, they work well in a team and they’re used to being outdoors and the elements.”

First Group to Graduate Soon

15,000 of the newly trained construction workers will be veterans and U.S. Army soldiers.

And some of them won’t have long to wait.

Forty soldiers are already going through the training and close to graduating. This initial group is from Fort Stewart in Georgia and Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

They are specializing in fields such as plumbing, electrical work, framing and carpentry. They hope to latch onto apprenticeships or permanent jobs soon after graduation.

Vets Receive Housing and Jobs

And it’s not like this is the first time Home Depot has shown its concern for U.S. armed forces.

The company donated $250 million through 2020 to provide housing to veterans.

It’s great to see the company wants to provide jobs to our service men and women, as well as housing.

The Home Depot construction program sure seems like a win-win to me.

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