Skip to main content

Major manufacturer backs vocational skills training

I think we can all agree that finding help is a huge problem. The wood industry has several ongoing initiatives to address this issue, the latest coming from Stanley Black & Decker which has launched a five-year, up to $25 million commitment to fund vocational skills training and reskilling programs in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

The Empower Makers Global Impact Challenge is a critical component of Stanley Black & Decker’s corporate social responsibility program that includes a goal to empower 10 million makers by the year 2030. It is expected to skill and reskill up to 3 million makers over the next five years.

“There are 430,000 open construction jobs in the U.S. and 10 million unfilled manufacturing jobs globally,” the company reported in a Sept. 9 announcement. “The pandemic has exacerbated this problem with millions of workers displaced since early 2020. In addition, the shift to remote and hybrid learning significantly impacted career and technical education (CTE) schools and classes, which rely heavily on hands-on learning. Almost 60 percent of CTE administrators reported lower enrollment in their programs for 2021.”

“Over the last several decades, vocational schools and careers in the trades have been overshadowed, despite the excellent, well-paying jobs and career paths they offer,” added Jim Loree, CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, parent company of DeWalt, Porter-Cable, Bostitch, Craftsman and other familiar woodworking brands. “Our goal is to recognize and advance those organizations that are working to create the skilled workers and tradespeople of the future that our society needs. For those workers displaced by the pandemic, especially women, people of color and veterans, we want to encourage them to trade up to a career in the trades.”

This year, the program will award up to $5 million in grants to nonprofits supporting trade workforce development initiatives. Submissions will be evaluated based on multiple criteria, including but not limited to number of people served, outcomes projected, sustainable impact, depth of programs, diversity and more.

Nonprofits can apply at through Oct. 31.

“We encourage nonprofits to learn more about the Impact Challenge now and sign up for updates in advance of October’s open application period,” said Stanley Black & Decker’s vice president of social impact, Diane Cantello.

“The open application period in October also marks Stanley Black & Decker’s annual Maker Month, the company’s celebration of the makers, creators and tradespeople shaping the world around us – a perfect way for us to commemorate this month is with this important initiative designed to build a brighter future for our trade workforce.”

Finishing writer wanted

Woodshop News has an immediate opening for a freelance finishing writer.

This magazine has a proud tradition of presenting expert finishing advice from Bob Flexner, Greg Williams, Mac Simmons and others. This is an excellent opportunity to join their ranks, writing on topics of interest to small and medium-sized professional shops.

Inquiries should be made to

This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue.

Related Articles

Opening of training center  breaks a bad news cycle

It’s been a depressing couple of months ... devastating hurricanes, rampant wildfires, a massacre in Las Vegas, losing Tom Petty, and the straw that broke my camel’s back, the United States’ failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Next IWF, WCA training, magazine writing and more

This month, we take stock of recent news, writing opportunities at your favorite magazine, and set the record straight.


Survey points to need for skill training

A new survey from DeWalt, a brand of Stanley Black & Decker, found more than half of U.S. contractors (55 percent) feel a lack of skilled workers is a barrier to growing their current business.

Comedy plus woodworking equals Bourbon Moth

For a good time, watch an episode of Bourbon Moth Woodworking.