Ezekiel HOPE
Press Release

National Skilled Trades Day Program Highlights Need for Tradesmen and Minority Representation


By - Apr 19th, 2024 05:08 pm
Flyer courtesy of Ezekiel HOPE.

Flyer courtesy of Ezekiel HOPE.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024, is National Skilled Trades Day and Ezekiel HOPE, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization, hopes to bring awareness about the dire need for workers in the skilled trades—an industry severely underrepresented by black and brown communities.

National Skilled Trades Day was started by a small, family-owned and run repair shop in Ohio. Faced with labor shortages, the company was worried about future efforts to attract workers, so they decided to promote awareness about job opportunities in the skilled trades. As a result of their efforts, the first Wednesday of May is now designated as National Skilled Trades Day.

The skilled trades industry is responsible for keeping the country running by repairing cars, installing and fixing plumbing, building new construction, and installing and repairing electrical. In short, skilled tradesmen are responsible for all of the comforts we take for granted to keep our homes and businesses operating.

Ezekiel HOPE, in hosting its annual breakfast awards event, is also using this day to create interest and awareness about an industry that pays family-sustaining wages but is underrepresented by Black and Brown communities. According to Apprenticeship Wisconsin’s 2022 statistics, 6.5% of apprentices were female; 6.3% were Hispanic and 3.8% apprentices were Black.

Jim Gaillard, Vice President/trainer, of Ezekiel HOPE, is passionate about training skilled workers for the future. Since 1998, Ezekiel HOPE has trained more than 400 individuals in the skilled trades. Ezekiel’s approach to training is unique because they purchase blighted houses—mostly in Milwaukee’s central city—take them down to the studs, rehab the homes and sell them to first-time homebuyers.

“We use these houses as our classroom. Everything in them is new, so our trainees learn by doing. Master electricians, plumbers, roofers and other contractors, use a ‘hands-on’ approach to train individuals enrolled in our program. Once the trainees see the finished home, it instills a sense of pride in them, knowing that a homebuyer is living in a home they worked on. That’s the HOPE that we have for our trainees. HOPE stands for Home ownership, partnership and employment. Trainees are able to leave our program armed with tools that can put them on the path to work with large contractors or start their own businesses,” said Gaillard.

The May 1 Awards Breakfast, dubbed, “Training for the Future: Tools of the Trades,” will be held at the Trade Hotel, 420 W. Juneau Avenue. Coincidentally, The Trade Hotel pays homage to the tradesmen that built Milwaukee by mimicking the Cream City brick in the hotel lobby, ironwork fixtures that honor ironworkers, to a host of other design elements throughout the hotel.

County Executive David Crowley, whose father was a master electrician, will be honored with the “Community Builder” award for advocating for funding to provide secure housing throughout Milwaukee County. Northwestern Mutual Foundation, one of Ezekiel’s partners in the company’s Amani Block-by-Block initiative, will receive the “Corporate Builder” award.

Tickets for the event can we purchased on Ezekiel’s website at www.ezekielHOPE.org.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

Mentioned in This Press Release


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