Lowe's, Metallica team up to bolster skilled labor workforce


The Lowe’s Foundation is partnering with heavy metal band Metallica to bolster the skilled labor workforce, which has been facing a critical shortage of workers. 

To expand support of skilled trades training for community college students, Lowe's donated $500,000 to Metallica's foundation, All Within My Hands. The organization, launched in 2017, supports critical local services to create sustainable communities. This includes its Metallica Scholars Initiative, which provides direct support to community colleges to enhance their career and technical education programs.

The latest donation from Lowe's will benefit hundreds of students at five community colleges by funding critical training, equipment, recruiting, and wraparound services, according to Lowe's.

According to a proprietary model developed by Associated Builders and Contractors, the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 501,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring this year just to meet the demand for labor. 

All Within My Hands program

In 2025, the industry will need to bring in nearly 454,000 new workers on top of normal hiring. That is also presuming that construction spending growth slows significantly next year, according to the data. 

"Not addressing the shortage through an all-of-the-above approach to workforce development will slow improvements to our shared built environment, worker productivity, living standards, and the places where we heal, learn, play, work and gather," ABC CEO Michael Bellaman said.

Lars Ulrich, Metallica's drummer and co-founder of the program, told FOX Business that they are already "seeing results." 

"Five years in, with the help of community colleges across the country, we are helping people fill these essential jobs that require skills and training," Ulrich said.

This marks Lowe's latest effort to address what it says is one of the most critical work shortages in the country. Last year, the home improvement company pledged $50 million over the next five years to combat this shortage of skilled workers.

All Within My Hands program

The 5 community colleges that will receive funding: 

Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona: Funding will support Metallica Scholars training for HVAC, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing careers. The program also includes comprehensive career advising.

College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois: Funding will go to recruit and retain a cohort of students who are training to join the local manufacturing workforce. They will also receive tools and a range of support for students pursuing certificates or degrees leading to HVAC, welding, and automotive careers.

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San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico: The funding to support students in traditional construction programs and automotive technology. There will be a priority on low-income individuals. 

Western Dakota Technical College in Rapid City, South Dakota: Funding will cover tuition, textbooks, tools, and student services in its construction and plumbing programs.

Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee: Funding will support hands-on career exploration and scholarships while it promotes "heavy metal" careers. These include automotive/diesel, HVAC, trucking, and welding.

Employers rely too much on technology and AI when it comes to hiring, according to survey findings released by Dexian, a provider of IT staffing and solutions. It found that 72% of workers feel this way.

Workers weren’t big on employers using AI to review resumes and applications. Dexian’s survey found that only 24% believe that AI should be used for this purpose.

“While it’s understandable that some workers have apprehensions about the use of AI in the hiring process, organizations must address these anxieties,” Maruf Ahmed, CEO of Dexian, said in a press release. “Doing so helps workers and jobseekers understand that if responsibly and properly implemented, AI tools can boost their job search and help get them into their ideal jobs more quickly.”

The survey also found that nearly half of workers, 49%, feel they have difficulty with career progression because of rapid technological changes. In fact, 75% feel they must continually reinvent themselves or reskill because of the rapid change of pace in their professions.

Looking at employers instead of workers, six in 10 said they are struggling with how and whether to use AI in the hiring process.

The report also found that workers and employers had differing views on cultural fit when it comes to hiring. Employers ranked it as least important, while 24% of workers ranked it as most important.

A staffing firm will pay $557,500 to settle allegations by the US Department of Justice that it discriminated against non-US citizens.

The company, eTeam, allegedly distributed job ads that contained unlawful hiring restrictions, according to the US Department of Justice. Those restrictions were based on citizenship status or otherwise screened-out candidates based on citizenship. The incidents took in 2021, according to the department.

Under the settlement, the $557,500 is comprised of $232,500 in civil penalties and $325,000 to compensate affected workers. The company must also train its personnel on the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“Staffing companies cannot engage in hiring and recruiting practices that unlawfully exclude or deter people with permission to work in the United States because of their citizenship or immigration status,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a press release.

ETeam has been contacted for comment.

With the travel nurse market contracting, healthcare staffing firms are adapting, writes Hayley DeSilva in Modern Healthcare. One firm, Incredible Health, is banking on career-long services that include an online support community, an AI résumé builder, salary estimators, and continuing education. AMN Healthcare Services is investing in technology, including the use of predictive AI, to help clients calculate staffing ratio needs for the greatest efficiency.

Freelance hiring at advertising agencies rose 40% year over year in the first quarter of 2024, according to Worksome, a freelance management system.  

“The advertising industry is seeing a strategic shift as agencies adapt to the current economic climate,” Worksome co-founder and CEO Morten Petersen said in a press release.  

“While the macroeconomic climate plays a role, the real story is how companies are leveraging nonemployee talent to stay agile and competitive,” Petersen said. “We see that as employee headcounts stabilize; this increase in freelance hiring signals and underscores the shift towards flexible talent and the need for quick access to specialized skills.” 

Other findings in the report:  

  • Strategic workforce shifts. Agencies are relying more on freelancers to navigate economic fluctuations and maintain flexibility. 
  • Demand for talent visibility. Agencies are increasingly demanding visibility into independent contractors and the ability to place them on assignment. 
  • Rapid talent acquisition. The ability to swiftly hire specialized freelancers is critical for agencies to stay responsive to client needs. 

Worksome’s report includes data from more than 150 advertising agency clients taken from Jan. 1 to March 31.

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