In January, Klein Tools, the number one tool brand among electricians and HVAC professionals, partnered with Lowe’s to donate nearly $30,000 worth of HVAC and electrical tools and equipment to three community and technical colleges that also received Lowe’s Foundation Gable Grants in 2023.
Betsy Conway, Director of Lowe’s Foundation, said that partners like Klein Tools are critical when it comes to supporting the urgent skilled trades workforce shortage.
“The Lowe’s Foundation is proud to be supported by likeminded vendors who are focused on bridging the skilled trades gap. We are so appreciative to our partnership with Klein Tools, who is truly walking the walk when it comes to equipping aspiring trades professionals with the right tools for the job.”’
In addition to $1.8 million in Gable Grants between Miami Dade College, Palm Beach State College and Southside Virginia Community College, Klein Tools donated more than 450 products such as insulated hand tools, meters, benders, hacksaws, personal protection equipment and more. Additionally, the Lowe’s Foundation, Klein Tools and two skilled trades content creators visited each campus to present the grants and tools, and tour each school’s training facilities alongside students and instructors.
One of the Gable Grant recipients is Palm Beach State College and Instructor of Electrical Daniel Neff, who says introducing a steady stream of skilled workers into the labor force is essential to the economy. Still, changing people’s view of trade jobs is critical to achieving that.
“The skilled workers of today are retiring, and then there’s no new blood because they’ve been told ‘you’ve got to go to college or you’re not going to amount to anything, and you’re not going to be a success’,” Daniel stated. “Success covers a lot of things; you don’t need a college degree to be a success. Success is something you schedule for yourself. You’re in your trade; you do your trade well. You try to be the best you can be and do the best work you can do. You’ll be a success.”
Hoping to make the skilled labor force even more efficient in their education, Klein Tools graciously donated a suite of workshop tools to multiple trade schools, hoping that training with the right tools will set them up for success.
“I can’t always have access to everything I want right when I like it, so the school being able to provide it and having the proper tools in my hand really allows me to have a good education,” Alex Yorlana , Palm Beach State College Electrical Program Student said.
While students are excited about using the high-quality gear, Electrical Apprentice and TikTok Influencer, Andrea O’Connell, says it’s imperative to get as much practical use as possible. “Hands-on learning is essential for the construction trade curriculum and for building the next generation of skilled trades professionals. Donations like this from Lowe’s and Klein Tools can transform a program for students. Knowing they’ve had their hands on those tools and materials in class provides a much-needed boost of motivation and confidence.”
As the need for more skilled labor workers grows, so does Lowe’s commitment, alongside their partners, helping equip the next generation of workers with the proper education, tools, and experience to fill the gap.
The Lowe’s Foundation Gable Grants program is a $50 million commitment over five years to recruit and train 50,000 new job-ready tradespeople to help fill the skilled trades gap. For more information, visit www.lowes.com/Foundation and follow on LinkedIn, X and Facebook.