Thanks to the first-ever round of Lowe’s Foundation Gable Grants, community and technical colleges across the U.S. will benefit from nearly $8 million in grants to support skilled trades workforce development initiatives. The grants are the first in a five-year, $50 million commitment to help prepare 50,000 people for skilled trades careers. The funds will support cutting-edge programs in appliance repair, carpentry, construction, electrical, HVAC and plumbing.
“These deserving schools are driving transformation in the skilled trades workforce through sustainable and inclusive career pathways. We had many outstanding applicants for these grants, which speaks to the urgency needed to increase the capacity for skilled trades labor nationwide,” said Janice Dupré, Lowe’s executive vice president of human resources and chair of the Lowe’s Foundation.
“Our grants are inclusive of all groups to ensure we achieve the overall goal of preparing 50,000 people for skilled trades careers in five years, including groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the trades, such as women, people of color, people in rural areas and individuals participating in second-chance programs,” Dupré continued. “We are confident that these college programs will strengthen the skilled trades infrastructure for years to come.”
The 2023 Lowe’s Foundation Gable Grants for community and technical colleges include:
- Coconino County Community College (Arizona) will expand its skilled trades training programs in construction, HVAC, plumbing and electrical. The school plans to remodel its workshop to create more lab space for students, upgrade equipment, computers and software, and hire additional instructors. Coconino is the only institution providing skilled trades training in the county, which is the second-largest by area in the U.S. and serves parts of the Navajo and Hopi tribal lands.
- Columbus Technical College (Georgia) will expand its reach with a new mobile unit to bring skilled trades training opportunities to students in rural communities, justice-involved learners and transitioning service members. The college also plans to build a four-week fast-track “Construction Career Launch Program” bootcamp to prepare participants for entry-level skilled trades positions.
- Howard College – San Angelo (Texas) will build a new center for its pre-apprenticeship electrical program and its soon-to-be-developed plumbing program, which will be the only plumbing program offered by a college in West Texas. This will allow the college to serve more students and help meet the skilled trades demand in local communities.
- Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana) will develop a short-term, non-credit HVAC pilot training program for entry-level technicians and provide unique training opportunities for justice-involved individuals across seven campuses. Ivy Tech works closely with local employers and the communities it serves to tailor programs to meet local labor demands and ensure students have opportunities for lasting careers.
- Madisonville Community College (Kentucky) will build a credential lattice between its electrical technology and HVAC programs that will allow students in a rural, five-county area to complete the combined programs in five or six semesters, rather than eight.
- Miami Dade College (Florida) will launch new programs in construction, HVAC and electrical through its Construction Trade Institute. Miami Dade College is one of the largest and most diverse institutions in the U.S., enrolling more than 120,000 students.
- MiraCosta College (California) will develop two HVAC and electrician certification programs with state-of-the-art equipment and supplies. These programs are designed to provide equitable access to first-generation college students and disproportionately impacted individuals through tuition reductions and student support services, such as transportation and childcare subsidies.
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Mississippi) will establish a construction trades training program for learners at a local correctional facility and provide scholarships and internships for students in its skilled trades training programs. As the only community college serving a four-county region in the state, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College works closely with local small businesses to place graduates in jobs.
- Palm Beach State College (Florida) will expand its Construction Trade Center for Workforce Innovation to provide simulated trainings that create “real world” experiences for students entering the trades workforce. Designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2015, the college provides smart home and office suites that serve as working labs for students to learn trades and installation practices.
- Southside Virginia Community College (Virginia) will renovate its lab in South Hill to provide training space and technical equipment to prepare students to enter the workforce as electrical and HVAC technicians. With seven locations covering 4,200 square miles of Virginia, the college is expected to use its grant to double student capacity and hire a full-time instructor.
Small business leaders that rely on skilled labor are facing unprecedented challenges in today’s job market. Read more…
“The support for community and technical colleges provided by Gable Grants from the Lowe’s Foundation will enable the expansion of the innovative, responsive and in-demand skilled trades training offerings at the nation’s community colleges,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges. “This unique program will empower community colleges to scale existing programs, upgrade technology and infrastructure, establish new initiatives and increase their impact as they strive to meet the needs of their communities.”
In addition to these grants, the Lowe’s Foundation will invest at least $5 million more to assist community-based nonprofit organizations and national nonprofit partners with a strong local presence. This puts the foundation on pace to invest more than $12 million in 2023 as part of its $50 million, five-year commitment.
Eligible community-based nonprofits that offer skilled trades training can submit Lowe’s Foundation Gable Grant applications between Aug. 1 and Sept. 1, 2023.