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Commentary

The Home Depot Makes Game-Changing $50 Million Pledge to America and Her Veterans

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Until a few years ago, The Home Depot’s slogan was, “You can do this. We can help.”

That’s pretty close to the message the company is now sending to thousands of America’s military veterans and their familes, Fox News reported Thursday.

The Home Depot Foundation announced a new commitment of $50 million over the next decade to train 20,000 workers in construction-related industries where they are desperately needed.

The foundation is focusing first on “separating military members and veterans, at-risk youth and members of the Atlanta Westside community,” according to Fox.

Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fox reported that there were 158,000 openings in construction, including “many six figure jobs” for which employers were apparently having difficulty finding qualified candidates.

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The foundation partnered with the Home Builders Institute in 2017 to introduce a pilot program on Ft. Bragg in North Carolina and Ft. Stewart in Georgia to provide job training for individuals leaving the military.

HBI is the “educational arm” of the National Association of Home Builders, and, according to its website, “provides students the skills and experience they need for successful careers through pre-apprenticeship training, job placement services, mentoring, certification programs, textbooks and curricula.”

“HBI has a 50-year history of training individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the building industry. Our program prepares men and women for high-growth careers in the industry after leaving military service,” HBI CEO John Courson said in a statement.

“With 200,000 service members separating from the military every year, our partnership with The Home Depot Foundation enables us to serve more veterans across the country,” he added.

Does knowing about this program make you more likely to shop at The Home Depot?

The first trainees will complete the free 12-week program in March, and their job placement rate is expected to be over 90 percent, The Home Depot told Fox.

“We want to bring shop class back, from coast-to-coast. We’re thrilled to train 20,000 next-generation plumbers, electricians, carpenters and beyond,” foundation executive director Shannon Gerber said in a statement.

“It’s a true honor to welcome our first classes of separating soldiers as they transition to civilian life and into successful careers in the trades,” she added.

Of course, training 20,000 new skilled tradespeople will address only a relatively small portion of the issue; there were nearly a half-million unemployed veterans in the U.S. in 2016 (the most recent year for which official statistics were available), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Nor could the foundation’s effort be considered completely altruistic. After all, the more construction workers are employed in the U.S., the more products The Home Depot is likely to be able to sell to those new workers.

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But that’s how capitalism actually works — it’s never completely altruistic, but no business can stay around for very long without creating new customers and then serving them well. As opposed to say, socialism, which demands that everyone be a customer and then serves them poorly, because that demand means providers are never at risk of losing business.

So the next time someone tries to describe the evils of capitalism, show them this.

Please like and share this article on social media with anyone you know who thinks capitalism doesn’t help the average worker.

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George Upper is editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and a frequent co-host of "WJ Live," a video podcast produced by The Western Journal. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he lived most of his life in North Carolina before moving to Arizona.
George Upper, editor-in-chief of The Western Journal, is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He now lives in Arizona with his wife and a Maine Coon named Princess Leia, for whose name he is not responsible. He is active in the teaching and security ministries in his church and is a lifetime member of the NRA. In his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He writes "The Upper Cut," a weekly column that appears quarterly (more or less). He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens, and the Oxford comma.
Birthplace
Foxborough, Massachusetts
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Beta Gamma Sigma
Education
B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Faith, Management, Military




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