NEWPORT NEWS, VA — Ferguson, LLC, the Newport News, VA-based distributor of plumbing supplies and related products, has partnered with a leading organization in an effort to “rebuild” the skilled trade pipeline, the company announced.
Ferguson and Explore The Trades, a nonprofit organization whose aim is to recruit individuals to the plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical trades, has unveiled a partnership to “introduce the skilled trades to a new generation,” Ferguson officials said.
“Our country urgently needs the next generation of plumbers and HVAC technicians to build and maintain our aging infrastructure,” corporate officials observed. “However, lack of investments in education, training and the skilled trades over the last 30 years created a labor shortage, driven by an exit of baby boomer retirees.
Ferguson and Explore the Trades have partnered to create “Explore The Trades Skills Lab Built by Ferguson” – a program that “will provide support to career and technical education high schools across the U.S., as they establish new plumbing and HVAC career pathways,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson committed $300,000 to the partnership and will assist primarily with products and tools for teaching and training, while Explore The Trades will tap into its network of contractors to serve as advisors for aspiring plumbers and HVAC technicians, program organizers said.
“Teaming up with Explore The Trades and its extensive network of experienced contractors is the success factor in this program,” said Melissa Hazelwood, Ferguson’s senior manager of sustainability. “We are excited about educating young people and encouraging them to embrace the artistry and ingenuity that comes from engaging their minds with their hands to build, craft and construct the future.”
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