From a partnership that began in summer 2021 to help close the skilled trades gap, Tractor Supply Co. and Carhartt have each donated $50,000 to SkillsUSA, a nonprofit that serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical, and skilled service occupations. That dollar amount, totaling $100,000 and based on the sales of “Support the Trades” shirts designed by Carhartt, succeeded in reaching the maximum planned by each of these rural America icons.
Support the Trades shirts were available in Tractor Supply retail locations and on TractorSupply.com since August. For every shirt sold, a portion of the proceeds was added to the companies’ donation commitment. Executives from Tractor Supply, Carhartt, and SkillsUSA, along with several SkillsUSA students and advisors were on hand for the check-presentation ceremony in Tennessee.
The United States is facing a rapidly growing shortage of qualified workers in the skilled trades, which include the construction, manufacturing, transportation, service, and healthcare sectors. According to Forbes, more than 3 million trade jobs will remain open in the U.S. by 2028. Further, Associated Builders and Contractors projects that the demand for construction workers will rise by 1.3 million to 2 million jobs by 2023. Additionally, with a quarter of current trade workers expected to retire within the next five years, the number of available positions is expected to far outpace the supply of qualified workers.
The students say they have learned valuable life and career lessons through SkillsUSA, and they were thankful for the support of Tractor Supply and Carhartt.
“Because of SkillsUSA I have successfully done so many things,” Kristan Odom, a SkillsUSA alum. “I can’t even imagine where I’d be without Skills.”
SkillsUSA partners with students, teachers and industry professionals to build America’s skilled workforce. Their framework provides students with workplace and technical skills grounded in academics, as well as valuable industry connections. Its curriculum covers 130 job categories, creating a pipeline of talented entry-level workers. With the donation from the Support the Trades campaign, SkillsUSA will have the ability to expand its reach and offer its training capabilities to even more students.