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Lowe’s Takes Big Step to End the Skills Gap

RCS Lowes Takes step to end skills gap
May 19, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.

Lowe’s just launched a workforce development program to educate young people on careers in trades like construction.

Generation T, or Gen T, is a consortium of 60 member organizations including manufacturers, schools and other stakeholders who are trying to end the skills gap. Lowe’s Skilled Trades Director Mike Mitchell led the development of the initiative. Left unaddressed, the skills gap reportedly could create a shortage of 3 million jobs by 2028.

Mitchell told the Charlotte-Observer that the company wants to debunk myths about skilled trades like carpentry, floor installation and plumbing. He said those positions are high paying and don’t require a college degree. Gen T’s goal is to understand why young people are avoiding the trades and introduce high school students to the trades as an alternative to college.

"The cause is two-fold," Mitchell said in a Business Insider interview. "Past generations of skilled trade workers are retiring, and there aren't enough trained workers to replace them. And for 40 years the skilled trades have been miscast. We need to help students understand the path to success leads through education that doesn't have to be a four-year degree; skilled trades education is simply a different brand of education."

According to the article, Gen T will “coordinate with its partners to donate products like appliances and tools to students studying trades and also help build networks so students can find apprenticeships.” Lowe’s has already donated tools to the schools near their North Caroline headquarters.

Gen T has set up a site that will serve as a “national marketplace for jobs, apprenticeships and education programs.”

“Individuals can leverage the platform to explore opportunities in the skilled trades and locate actual training and job opportunities in their area by a simple ZIP code search," Mitchell said. "As more companies join the Generation T movement, more opportunities will become available within the portal."

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Photo: Lowe’s employees met with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools students during an immersion event hosted at Camp North End last fall. Courtesy of Lowe's.



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