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“Explore The Trades Skills Lab, Built by Ferguson” Grant Recipients Announced

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The “Explore The Trades Skills Lab, Built by Ferguson” grants signify a collaborative effort between Explore The Trades, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the technical talent gap in the plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical service trades, and Ferguson, a company (and ACCA member) devoted to strengthening communities where their branches are located. Together, these organizations aim to cultivate the next generation of plumbers and HVAC technicians.

In its second year, the “Explore The Trades Skills Lab, Built by Ferguson” grant program has expanded its scope beyond creating new skills labs. It now includes middle schools and schools that require updated equipment. The primary objective of this partnership between Explore The Trades and Ferguson is to nurture and empower future technicians.

Kate Cinnamo, executive director of Explore The Trades, expressed her satisfaction with the initiative, stating, “Our inaugural class of three skills labs last year was a true success. To make an impact at 11 school sites this year makes this initiative even sweeter. With appreciation for our partnership with Ferguson, approximately 700 high school students and 150 middle school students will benefit from learning about the plumbing and HVAC trades this upcoming school year. And to the instructors who are leading these future trades professionals, we thank you.”

Melissa Hazelwood, director of social impact at Ferguson, conveyed her excitement to continue the partnership and provide more opportunities for young individuals to learn about the plumbing and HVAC trades. She emphasized the program’s early accomplishments and subsequent expansion reflect the commendable efforts and leadership of Explore The Trades. Hazelwood stated, “Building new labs, renovating outdated labs, and sharing hands-on experiential learning with high school and middle school students aligns with Ferguson’s mission to rebuild a sustainable skilled trades pipeline – and with the help of Explore The Trades – we are one step closer. We can’t wait to see the finished labs!”

This year’s grant recipients are as follows:

  • Bronx Design & Construction High School – Plumbing (New York)
  • Carroll Co. Career & Technical Center – HVAC (Maryland)
  • Franklin Co. High School – Plumbing (Virginia)
  • Hastings High School – Plumbing (Michigan)
  • Lyman High School – Plumbing (Florida)
  • Milford Mill Academy – Plumbing (Maryland)
  • Roxbury High School – Plumbing (New Jersey)
  • Somerset Co. Technical High School – HVAC (Maryland)
  • SVHEC Career Tech Academy – HVAC (Virginia)
  • West Lincoln Middle School – Plumbing (North Carolina)
  • Western School of Tech & Environmental Science – Plumbing (Maryland)

Established in 2005, Explore The Trades is dedicated to bridging the technical talent gap in the plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical service trades. The organization focuses on reintroducing discussions about skilled trades into classrooms, particularly providing industry information to educators, parents, and K-12 students.

Posted In: Partner News

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