Lowe’s Announces $50 Million in Grants to Community and Technical Colleges

The Lowe's Foundation grants will help train 50,000 workers over the next five years with a focus on increasing the number of young and diverse tradespeople.
1 min read

Share this Article

  • The Lowe's Foundation announced $50 million in grants to community and technical colleges Thursday.
  • The grants go toward educating skilled workers amid a nationwide shortage, according to a press release.
  • A vast majority of contractors report difficulties finding qualified workers, according to the release.
  • More than 500,000 new workers will be needed to fill demand this year.

The Lowe's Foundation is sending $50 million to community and technical colleges in a bid to cut back on a nationwide shortage of skilled workers.

The grants aim to train 50,000 workers through community and technical colleges, as well as community nonprofits, over the next five years, according to a Lowe's Foundation press release. The release noted that more than half a million new skilled workers will be needed to meet job demand over the next year, and 85% of contractors report difficulties finding qualified workers.

The Lowe's Foundation Gable Grants program started accepting applications Thursday for two-year grants to build out training programs, according to the release. The grant program will also "aim to increase the number of young and diverse tradespeople, particularly from underrepresented and rural communities," according to the release.

"With the skilled trades industry facing a labor crisis, the Lowe's Foundation is now poised to help train tens of thousands of qualified skilled tradespeople, giving each of them the opportunity to build a rewarding career and make lasting impacts in communities across the country," Janice Dupré, executive vice president of human resources at Lowe's and chair of the Lowe's Foundation, said in the release.

"We are bringing our network, our expertise and our resources to address this critical need and help ensure that the next generation of builders has the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the demands of our modern world."

American Association of Community Colleges President and CEO Walter G. Bumphus noted in the release that community colleges, as anchor institutions and key access points of higher education, are "uniquely qualified" to fill local workforce needs.

"The commitment to skilled trades education in our community colleges by the Lowe's Foundation will help thousands of hard-working individuals access and enter stable, fulfilling careers in fields like electrical, plumbing, HVAC, construction, appliance repair and carpentry," Bumphus said.

"There are more than 10 million students — almost half of all U.S. undergraduates — enrolled in the associate-degree granting institutions we represent. These institutions are deeply ingrained in their communities and well-placed to drive an increased interest in skilled trades training."

The Lowe's Foundation plans to host information webinars on the grant programs on March 9 and March 22, according to the release.

The nationwide skilled labor shortage extends beyond the contracting industry. High-demand tech jobs are also going unfilled due to a lack of workers, leading some companies to partner with community colleges to cut back on that skills gap.

In Ohio, tech giant Intel Corp. is offering thousands of jobs that are available to workers with an associate degree as part of a $20 billion chip manufacturing effort, BestColleges previously reported — and community colleges are playing a key role in that initiative.

Community colleges tend to be keenly aware of local workforce needs, and are also able to quickly adapt new curriculum to fit the changing needs of their communities, Ohio Association of Community Colleges President and CEO Jack Hershey previously told BestColleges.

"No matter what industry and no matter what corner of the state, we are hearing from employers across the board that they need more people to graduate from community colleges," Hershey said.