Last month, Explore the Trades, Built by Ferguson announced the eleven middle and high school grant recipients for their ongoing skills lab project, according to a recent PHCPPros article. ASA member company Ferguson’s dedication to investing in the communities in which they operate lead them to partner with the non-profit Explore the Trades. Together, the two organizations are working to address the technical talent gap in the plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical service trades by introducing a new generation of middle and high school students to the industry in the context of Skills Labs.
Since the project’s inception last year, the inaugural class of three skills labs has proved to be successful in this aim. These skills labs bring the trades conversation back into the classroom, providing valuable industry information to educators, parents, and students and hands-on experiential learning opportunities for those who otherwise may never have considered the plumbing and HVAC fields.
This year, Explore the Trades and Ferguson are expanding the program by building new skills labs and updating outdated facilities at existing labs. Melissa Hazelwood, director of social impact at Ferguson, expressed her enthusiasm for the past success and future potential of the partnership. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership and provide more opportunities for young people to learn the plumbing and HVAC trades,” she said. “The program’s early success and subsequent growth is a testament to the work and leadership of Explore the Trades.”
Ferguson’s efforts to rebuild a sustainable skilled trades pipeline are not only commendable but necessary to bring young talent into the field. Should the manufacturing and wholesale sectors of the supply industry mirror this level of direct outreach and education, many young people who may have previously been unaware of the industry could find promising careers while bringing their fresh perspectives and talents to the field.