- The North Alabama Building Academy opened Jan. 16 in Huntsville, Alabama, and will offer free education in building trades, according to a report by AL.com.
- Qualified students — those age 17 and 18 and about to graduate high school, legal to work in the U.S. and able to pass a drug test — will receive eight weeks of training if they elect to attend classes in the evening or four weeks if they can attend during the day, AL.com reported.
- The first weeks of classes will first cover general topics, including safety, blueprint reading, construction math, tools and power tools, followed by education in soft skills such as interviewing and resume building. The final two weeks of classes will cover trade-specific topics, reported AL.com.
As the labor market continues to tighten across many industries, employers and localities alike appear to be offering training opportunities to bulk up talent pipelines.
Wisconsin Oven announced last November a partnership with Gateway Technical College that allowed students to receive training and a paycheck. Students can earn $10 an hour while completing their training, and the company pays for trainees' first semester at Gateway. In announcing the opportunity, Wisconsin Oven said the initiative aims to add more qualified people to its talent pool, adding that its "lack of skilled workers has impeded [its] growth."
On a larger scale, Detroit welcomed a $30 million skilled trades center in March. With it, the city said it intends to provide free skilled trades training to 1,500 students every year. First-year apprentices in the program will earn about $16 per hour, in addition to benefits. Like Wisconsin Oven's program, this initiative came as a solution to the skills gap; at the installment of the center, the city noted Michigan businesses require 15,000 workers to fill job openings in skilled trades industries every year.
As localities move to solve this problem, some nationwide efforts are gaining momentum, as well. Lowe's partnered with 60 companies to launch Generation T, a movement aimed at training workers in the trades, it said in April 2019. The Gen T initiative works to change the social perception of trade careers by illustrating the economic possibility they entail, boosting trade education for children and creating work opportunities for students.