In 2017, The Home Depot Foundation launched a pilot trades training program for separating military members in partnership with nonprofit Home Builders Institute (HBI) on Ft. Stewart and Ft. Bragg. The first set of students will graduate this March. The 12-week pre-apprenticeship certification program, which is provided at no cost to students, uses an industry-based curriculum recognized by the Department of Labor that integrates work-based learning with technical and academic skills. The program, which has a job placement rate of more than 90 percent, will now roll out on additional bases across the United States.
“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,” said HBI CEO John Courson. “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.”
In this video, TOH host Kevin O'Connor has a chat with HBI CEO John Courson to discuss the nonprofit's partnership with The Home Depot Foundation and the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. Kevin also speaks to student and aspiring carpenter, Shannon Smith Jackson, about her experience at HBI. "Leaving a structured environment to 'you make your life what you want it' was a little intimidating at first," Jackson said. She goes on to say that the Soldier for Life programs help with the transition back to civilian life, while giving soldiers the opportunity to learn marketable skills and gain confidence.