The shortage of skilled trades professionals is widely evident, as jobs remain unfilled and opportunities for domestic growth are missed. Despite the increasing awareness, the skills gap continues to widen. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, jobs in the skilled trades are expected to grow by at least 11 percent by 2026, while three out of every four tradespeople are set to retire.
Ferguson is actively pursuing solutions and working with various community and business partners to address the growing crisis. As part of its mission to champion the skilled trades, the company has signed a three-year, $300,000 partnership with SkillsUSA – an organization comprised of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce through the development of personal, workplace and technical skills. Ferguson’s support will focus largely on introducing the trades to students in middle school, sponsorship of the annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, the WorldSkillsUSA team and furthering the organization’s core mission.
“The dwindling pipeline of skilled trades professionals is having a profound effect on our workforce and our ability to help our customers build and maintain America’s infrastructure,” explained Kevin Murphy, Ferguson’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are working with many organizations like SkillsUSA to address the issue and will continue to find new ways to illustrate that the trades are a viable career option. Our goal is to align education with opportunity and provide pathways for aspiring apprentices to enter the workforce.”
“We are so proud to welcome Ferguson to the SkillsUSA family as an official partner,” said Timothy Lawrence, SkillsUSA executive director. “Ferguson’s three-year partnership demonstrates a long-term, core commitment to the expansion of career and technical education curriculum in middle schools and our annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, the preeminent showcase of today’s — and tomorrow’s — skilled workers.”
In addition to SkillsUSA, Ferguson partners with other organizations working to address the shortage of skilled trades professionals and has donated nearly $300,000 this fiscal year to:
- Local community colleges
- Career and Technical Education high school programs
- Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation (MCERF)
- NexStar Legacy Foundation
- Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC)
- PVF Roundtable