Business

Lowe’s gives its employees tuition to fill ‘massive’ skills gap

A Lowe’s store in Hialeah, Fla., is shown in this file photo. The Mooresville-based retailer announced this week a program to provide construction-industry training to its employees, citing a nationwide shortage of workers with such skills.
A Lowe’s store in Hialeah, Fla., is shown in this file photo. The Mooresville-based retailer announced this week a program to provide construction-industry training to its employees, citing a nationwide shortage of workers with such skills. AP

Mooresville-based Lowe’s said it has launched a program to provide construction-industry training to its employees, citing a nationwide shortage of workers with such skills.

The home-improvement company said it is offering full- and part-time employees up to $2,500 in tuition to gain certifications. Participants will be given pre-apprenticeships for Lowe’s careers in areas including carpentry, electrical, plumbing and appliance repair.

Charlotte is among four U.S. cities that will pilot the program, “Track to the Trades,” starting Thursday. Colorado-based Guild Education, a firm that provides access to online training from accredited institutions, is helping with the initiative.

In making the announcement this week, Lowe’s said the skilled trade industry is experiencing a rapidly declining workforce.

“The trade profession is a high-demand, high-opportunity field for the next generation workforce, and today, there is a massive unmet need,” Jennifer Weber, Lowe’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement.

When asked by the Observer, Lowe’s said participating employees will not be required to sign retention contracts or pay back tuition should they leave the company.

Lowe’s said plans are to take the program nationwide by the end of this year.

Denver, Colo.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Richmond, Va., are the other cities involved in the pilot.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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