ATLANTA — A trio of charities are making a $5.7 million grant to help boost the state's construction industry, which is experiencing a shortage of workers.
The Construction Education Foundation of Georgia, the group receiving the donation, announced the grant on Wednesday. It's coming from The Home Depot Foundation and two charities bearing the names of the company's founders, Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus.
According to a release, the donation is meant to help "reduce the growing and dramatic workforce shortages in the construction industry" and "create more and stronger career pathways for Georgia's young people."
Specifically, the education foundation said the grant will:
- Add 11 elementary and middle school construction programs in Georgia, bringing the total from nine to 20.
- Add about 40 industry-certified high school construction programs in Georgia.
- Provide training and industry credentials to more than 17,500 students
- Expose another 21,000 students to construction career opportunities.
- Place 3,500 students in construction industry work-based training and full-time employment programs.
According to the groups, the Georgia Department of Labor estimates more than 270,000 skilled jobs will be needed by 2022.
“This watershed funding effort will make a significant impact on students across the state, while simultaneously helping industry partners see tangible results as more skilled professionals join the workforce," said Scott Shelar, the CEO of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia.
Marcus said he had been "concerned for a number of years that students have been told that if they don’t get a college education they can’t succeed."
"It’s not true," he said. "And it hasn’t been true since I was a kid. Many people have been successful after learning a trade. It helps make the world ’work.’ Our country has grown and prospered because of electricians, plumbers, and all kinds of construction workers in every generation. Having a skill in a trade today can lead to a great job, no college debt, and the ability to provide for a family.”
Blank added "we believe in the power of workforce development programs to provide living wage jobs and long-term economic mobility."