Trade Talks USA Receives Grant from The Marcus Foundation

Staff Report

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Trade Talks USA - the go-to, independent platform to learn about the skilled trades and training opportunities available - announces it has been awarded a $250,000 grant by The Marcus Foundation to continue its efforts in helping address the critical shortage of skilled trade workers in Georgia and nationally. The grant will help Trade Talks in its efforts to introduce and educate students, veterans, career changers, and educators on the variety of jobs and training opportunities leading to high-demand careers in the skilled trades. This includes occupations in carpentry, electrical, HVAC, masonry, plumbing, roofing, welding, construction technology, entrepreneurship, and other key trade professions.

"The goals and strategies at Trade Talks USA are closely aligned with our interests and values at the Marcus Foundation," said Marcus Ruzek, Senior Program Director at The Marcus Foundation. "By leveraging our collective assets, we can address the economic and social challenges faced by communities in need and create sustainable, long-term career pathways for individuals from all backgrounds through rewarding careers in the skilled trades."

"We are deeply honored to receive this generous grant from The Marcus Foundation,” said Justin Milrad, Trade Talks President & Founder. "It is indeed validating to know that our efforts to amplify the critical need for a skilled workforce and the exciting career opportunities available are recognized and supported by such an influential global partner. For every five individuals leaving the skilled trades, only one individual is replacing them. As a result, the current workforce is aging quickly and diminishing in size at record rates. Now is the opportune time to invest in the future of the skilled trades professions.”

Since its launch in 2020, Trade Talks USA has collaborated with a host of leading industry and training providers to create and present a host of interactive resources, programming, and online tools designed to inform students and prospective workers about the abundant opportunities in the skilled trades training and career pathways. Partners include the Technical College System of Georgia, Construction Ready, RWC International, and The Home Depot's Path to Pro Program, among others.

"This major contribution will go a long way in helping us bridge the growing gap between the potential pool of skilled workers and the employers that so desperately need them," said Dave McCulloch, Trade Talks Executive Director. "Last year alone, over 350,000 jobs were left unfilled in the construction trades due to the skilled workforce shortage and that number will only grow with the projected increase in building projects and as older skilled workers continue to retire from their respective fields. Additionally, we are working hard to ensure potential tradespeople understand the quality of life the skilled trades offers. Many skilled trade jobs pay extremely well, often two to three times the minimum wage to start. Many trades professionals can make upwards of six figures with healthy signing bonuses. With the renewed focus and investment in our aging infrastructure, it’s an ideal time for any and all types of job seekers to get involved in the skilled trades."