This week, in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus legislative conference, TradesFutures, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and one of its industry partners, Southern Company, a leading U.S. energy company, committed $1 million to increase equity in skilled trades and provide opportunities for underrepresented communities.
In partnership with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), TradesFutures is expanding access to training programs, including apprenticeship readiness programs (ARPs) operated across the Southeast. These programs prepare students with the knowledge and hands-on training needed for careers as skilled tradespeople, and focus on providing jobs for women, people of color and veterans.
More than 190 ARPs have been offered nationwide to develop pipefitters, electricians, ironworkers and other skilled professionals, supporting economic growth and providing contract workers for companies including Southern Company.
“Apprenticeship Readiness Programs are key to building an equity agenda in construction workforce development,” said TradesFutures Board President Sean McGarvey. “That is why we are committed to expanding them. We want to give more workers the opportunity to secure more high-quality jobs within the industry and to elevate diversity in and access to the most proven and widely recognized workforce development model.”
This commitment will support further partnerships and collective efforts with HBCUs for equitable opportunities in local communities, as they continue to create pathways toward meaningful careers.
“Across the Southern Company system, we’re proud to support efforts like TradesFutures that help develop a diversified talent pipeline to grow the energy industry,” said Jeff Peoples, Alabama Power Executive Vice President and TradesFutures Board of Directors member.
“Southern Company and their family of companies are focused on opportunities all across their footprint that make these partnerships work,” said Sean McGarvey. “We look forward to others joining them in similar effort.”