Three organizations are teaming up to grow a more inclusive pipeline of talent in skilled labor industries.
Recent data from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics confirms that Black workers are a rare find in the architecture, construction, and engineering spaces. To help foster more inclusivity, the Home Depot Foundation along with Home Builders Institute have teamed up with 100 Black Men of America, a mentoring organization, to increase training opportunities for Black youths interested in skilled labor professions.
Heather Prill, HDF senior manager of strategic partnerships and hometown giving, notes that since 2018 the foundation and HBI have been working to create training and career opportunities for youths and individuals separating from the military. "But as we continued to grow our program, we also saw a lack of diverse talent. Our partners at HBI are industry leaders, and their experience in this space led us to an expanded partnership with 100 Black Men of America," Prill explains.
HDF announced that by the end of 2021, the partnership will bring skills training programs, internships, as well as opportunities to earn industry certifications, to underrepresented youths in three major US cities. HDF is funding the program, and HBI will be the training partner facilitating training workshops through existing after-school programs that 100 Black Men of America manages.
"This investment will help us expand our youth workforce and career readiness initiatives with a specific focus on the building trades that are so vital to the economic recovery," Chuck Baker, chairman of 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, said in Home Depot's announcement.
Ed Brady, HBI president and CEO, calls the diversity deficiency in the residential construction business unacceptable and says that the three-city training pilot is just a taste of what is to come. "We are determined to make a strong, productive start in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, so that we then can build out from there more programs in many more markets," Brady says.
All three organizations are hopeful that bringing the training opportunities to communities underrepresented in those industries will have a positive impact. "Through this program, we're working to do our part in bridging the opportunity gap for Black youth," Prill adds. "This program will raise awareness with youth around the career opportunities available for their generation and provide them with skills and a certification to start a career path in the skilled trades."