- Along with more than 60 other companies, Lowe's launched Generation T, a movement aimed at training workers who can fill trade jobs, according to a news release.
- The Gen T initiative will move to change societal perception of these careers by illustrating the economic possibility they entail, involving children in trade education and allowing students to discover work opportunities. Gen T will connect potential skilled trade professionals with apprentice opportunities and work through its website, WeAreGenerationT.com.
- "We believe the professional trades are an essential part of America's future," Lowe's Human Resources Executive Vice President Jennifer L. Weber said in the release. "We're committed to opening that path to those who relish the challenge of creating something out of raw materials, and take pride and satisfaction in mastering the skills required to do it."
The companies behind the Gen T initiative identified and addressed several of the factors of the talent crisis occurring in skilled trades industries. They tackle the issue of America's perception of blue-collar work, for example, with strategies to provide education and job opportunities to young people. This approach could help with the stigma and improve access, considering careers that require college degrees have cast shadows over blue-collar work, experts previously told HR Dive. Gen T's education strategy appears similar to those already in place in certain regions; in Texas, where the construction industry is particularly burdened by a lack of skilled workers due to immigration enforcement, shop class is making a comeback.
With the advent of initiatives like Gen T, it's clear that employers will need to partner with each other, all levels of government, schools and nonprofits to kickstart changes. As the federal government encourages employers to provide apprenticeships, employers like Wisconsin Oven are responding with earn-while-you-learn programming to fill their payrolls and train up a new workforce. And Albany Technical College has begun holding events to connect workers, students and employers in the construction, transportation and public safety fields.