This New Lowe’s Employee Program Pays for Workers to Learn a Trade

lowe's employees working in store
Photo courtesy of Lowe's

Less than a month after announcing plans to hand out cash bonuses, enhance benefits and hire 53,000 new workers, Lowe’s has unveiled a new workforce development initiative for its employees.

The home improvement chain is partnering with the Guild Education to launch “Track to the Trades,” a program offering employees financial assistance for trade skill certification.

Eligible part- and full-time employees can receive up to $2,500 to complete certifications for skills such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and appliance repair. This will be upfront tuition funding as opposed to a tuition reimbursement plan.

Employees will not only receive the tuition funding to learn a new trade but also get academic coaching and placement opportunities for full-time pre-apprenticeships in Lowe’s contractor network. Participants in these pre-apprenticeships will receive enrollment assistance as well as a field mentor.

This announcement comes at a time when there is not only a shortage of labor in the skilled trade industry but also an increasing demand for experienced construction and infrastructure workers.

Based off a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lowe’s predicts a skilled trades gap of more than a half million construction-related jobs by 2026.

With the “Track to the Trades” program, Lowe’s aims not only to provide its employees with new career opportunities but also to attempt to bridge that workforce gap.

“Track to the Trades” will debut on March 1 in four pilot cities: Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver, Colorado; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Richmond, Virginia. The program will be expanded nationwide by the end of 2018.

Kaitlyn Blount is a junior staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.