Stanley Black & Decker announced that it is launching a five-year (and up to $25 million) commitment to fund vocational skills training and re-skilling programs in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
Beginning October 1st, non-profits around the globe can apply for grants as part of the “Empower Makers” Global Impact Challenge.
The program is a critical component of Stanley Black & Decker’s corporate social responsibility program that includes a goal to empower 10-million makers by the year 2030.
The Impact Challenge is expected to skill and re-skill up to three million makers over the next five years.
Due to a lack of skilled trade workers, there are 430,000 open construction jobs in the U.S. alone, and 10-million unfilled manufacturing jobs globally. The pandemic has exacerbated this problem with millions of workers displaced since early 2020.
In addition, the shift to remote and hybrid learning significantly impacted career and technical education (CTE) schools and classes, which rely heavily on hands-on learning. Almost 60% of CTE administrators reported lower enrollment in their programs for 2021.
“Stanley Black & Decker is for the makers, the builders and the tradespeople, those out doing the hard work to create the world around us and build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” said Stanley Black & Decker CEO, Jim Loree. “Our goal is to recognize and advance those organizations that are working to create the skilled workers and tradespeople of the future that our society needs. For those workers displaced by the pandemic, especially women, people of color and veterans, we want to encourage them to trade up to a career in the trades.”
Stanley Black & Decker aims to change misconceptions about skilled trade jobs, including the notion that these careers are not financially rewarding. A report from Rock The Trades, shows that many workers in skilled trades earn much more than the U.S. national average salary, $53,000, including electricians who can make up to $96,000 per year or aircraft mechanics who can make more than $100,000 per year.
Meanwhile, the average cost of a four-year college degree is $127,000 vs. $33,000 for a trade school program, and the average repayment time for a $127,000 debt is 21 years — time that a trade professional could be earning in their career.
“Stanley Black & Decker’s support of the skilled trades is fantastic for the nonprofit community,” said Shelley Halstead, founder of Black Women Build in Baltimore, MD, which trains Black women in carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills by restoring vacant and deteriorated houses in West Baltimore.
She added: “Organizations like ours work really hard to make an impact in our communities and provide the training for women to have fulfilling careers. But it’s pretty much impossible without financial support from companies or individuals who believe in what we do. We will definitely be applying for an Impact Challenge grant so we can introduce more women and minorities to the trades and close the skills gap.”