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  • Writer's pictureArizona Contractor & Community

The Home Depot Foundation invests $1 million to train veterans to rebuild communities after disasters

New grant to Team Rubicon will deploy more skilled tradespeople to communities impacted by natural disasters

To further extend its mission of training the next generation of skilled tradespeople, The Home Depot Foundation is granting $1 million to its veteran-led disaster response partner Team Rubicon to build a new trades training program. Through the “TRades Academy,” Team Rubicon will provide its volunteers with on-the-job training in carpentry, electrical, plumbing and HVAC as they rebuild homes in communities impacted by natural disasters. Once trained, volunteers will be equipped to work with general contractors and nonprofit organizations, addressing the skilled trades gap in these communities and broadening support after natural disasters.

“With a billion-dollar disaster happening every 18 days, on average, and a shortage of qualified labor, there simply aren’t enough skilled tradespeople to help communities rebuild and recover after disaster strikes,” said Art delaCruz, chief executive officer of Team Rubicon. “The Home Depot Foundation’s investment in the TRades Academy will help empower our dedicated veteran and civilian volunteers to serve communities impacted by natural disasters in a new capacity while helping to fill the skilled labor gap.”


The Home Depot Foundation has partnered with Team Rubicon since 2012 to provide immediate disaster response and long-term disaster recovery to communities in need. With the support of the Foundation and Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate volunteer force, Team Rubicon has been rebuilding homes and serving communities devastated by hurricanes and tornadoes. While attempting to hire local contractors to help complete the work, Team Rubicon repeatedly ran into a scarcity of trained professionals available, leading to the creation of the TRades Academy.


“We’re proud to invest in the TRades Academy to help close this skills gap, embed trades specialists in vulnerable communities and further scale the incredible work Team Rubicon’s volunteers complete after disasters,” said Erin Izen, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. “Programs like this allow The Home Depot to extend its mission of growing the skilled trades industry and providing Pros access to qualified candidates.”


In the U.S., there are nearly 400,000 open jobs requiring skilled plumbers, carpenters, electricians and HVAC specialists. Through the Path to Pro Program, The Home Depot Foundation offers free training opportunities and scholarships to introduce youth, underserved communities and separating U.S. military servicemembers to meaningful careers in construction. Additionally, The Home Depot’s Path to Pro Network connects skilled tradespeople to professional contractors and job openings and offers free, virtual classes to introduce more people to careers in the trades. For more information, visit


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