In recent nationwide press, the Lowes Foundation declared Columbus Technical College (CTC) as one of the first Lowe’s Foundation Gable Grant recipients.
According to the Lowe’s Foundation, the US faces an acute skilled trades workforce crisis with 85% of contractors reporting trouble finding skilled workers and an estimated 546,000 new skilled tradespeople needed on top of the normal pace of hiring to meet demand this year alone. Cohort one of the awarded programs will aid the following institutions across the country by providing short-term, innovative programming that can be completed quickly in the high-demand areas of appliance repair, construction/carpentry, electrical, HVAC and plumbing:
Coconino County Community College (Arizona), Columbus Technical College (Georgia), Howard College-San Angelo (Texas), Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana), Madisonville Community College (Kentucky), Miami Dade College (Florida), MiraCosta College (California), Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Mississippi), and Southside Virginia Community College (Virginia).
Martha Ann Todd, CTC President, shared, “We are thrilled to receive this award that will greatly impact the lives of potential students in areas that have traditionally been in our service area but may have experienced challenges with getting to campus. This funding also offers tremendous opportunity for continued and enhanced outreach to those in confinement programs as well as members of the Fort Moore community looking to transition from military duty.”
CTC has been granted funds to build a new mobile unit to bring skilled trades training opportunities to students in rural communities, justice-involved learners and transitioning service members. The college also plans to build a four-week fast-track “Construction Career Launch Program” boot camp to prepare participants for entry-level skilled trades positions. CTC’s Mobile Carpentry Training Program was selected from more than 200 applicants as one of the inaugural cohort of colleges winning Gable Grants to support its innovative and scalable trades training programs. Pending construction and deployment requirements, Columbus Tech plans to place the mobile unit into service in Spring 2024.
To help meet the demands of skilled trades, the Lowe’s Foundation recently announced nearly $8 million in grants to community and technical colleges to support skilled trades training programs as part of the Gable Grants program. The grants are the first in a five-year, $50 million commitment to help prepare 50,000 people for skilled trades careers. David Kuipers, CTC Vice President of Academic Affairs said, “Columbus Tech is one of 11 colleges in the country (and the only college in Georgia) to be awarded a grant to expand training in construction and related fields. The $1 million award will be used to fund mobile training opportunities much closer to home for potential students.”
These funds will enable the Gable Grant recipients to expand their innovative, responsive and in-demand skilled trades training offerings in appliance repair, construction, electrical, HVAC and plumbing. In addition to these grants, the Lowe’s Foundation will invest at least $5 million more this year to assist community-based nonprofit organizations and national partners with a strong local presence. This puts the foundation on pace to invest more than $12 million in 2023, ahead of its $50 million five-year commitment.