The home improvement brand Lowe's has announced an initiative to train and retain employees and provide "debt-free education" to more than 300,000 employees, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The program has Lowe's partnering up with Guild, an education platform that "upskills" workers to "unlock opportunity for America's workforce through education." The Denver-based company manages education assistance benefits for those looking to work in a trade role.
Lowe's is offering 50 academic programs at 23 universities and other learning providers in its initiative including historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Lowe's said in a statement.
Janice Dupré, Lowe's executive vice president of human resources said, "We actively listen to our associates to identify how we can help them in the many facets of their lives. This debt-free education offering is one of the many ways we're working to help our associates reach their career potential while knocking down traditional barriers that often make it difficult for them to obtain a degree."
The program benefits are available to eligible part-time and full-time employees.
Lowe's has also introduced what the company is calling a digital-first initiative called Generation T which the company describes as a "movement aimed at rebuilding the skilled trades by changing people’s perception. Using unique digital storytelling, compelling social media and an innovative online jobs platform to help connect prospects and businesses."
In a video on the project landing page for its website a presenter offers up a spoken-word piece with some powerful lines about contributing to a plethora of jobs in the U.S., not just some of the most prominently promoted career areas heard about most often. In the video he says, "Craftsmanship is a calling, What if the 'they-sayers' were so worried about making it in society, they forgot to value the hands that make the society?...there's work to be done, are you ready?"