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Lowe's to start skill development program for workers

Lowe's Cos. Inc. will start a skill development program that will provide its employees with financial and placement support, among other benefits, the U.S. home improvement retailer said Feb. 22.

The program, called Track to the Trades, will be conducted under a partnership with adult educational provider Guild Education and is expected to be launched on March 1. Workers can expect benefits like tuition fee grants to pursue a trade skill certification, academic coaching and support, and placement avenues in the form of pre-apprenticeships at Lowe's contractor network across the U.S. or further advancement in the company itself.

The North Carolina-based company will roll out the program in the cities of Charlotte, Denver, Pittsburgh and Richmond initially, with a planned nationwide launch by 2018-end.

"The initiative comes at a time when the skilled trade industry is experiencing a rapidly declining workforce," Lowe's said in a statement.

Pre-apprenticeships, which take about six to 10 months to complete, will be available in carpentry, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing or appliance repair fields. Workers will also get enrollment guidance and a field mentor during the pre-apprenticeship.